Artificial Intelligence Pioneer Marvin Minsky Dies - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Data Management // IoT

Artificial Intelligence Pioneer Marvin Minsky Dies

Mathematician and computer scientist Marvin Minsky died Sunday from a cerebral hemorrhage, ending a noted career as the "father of artificial intelligence." He was 88.

11 IoT Programming Languages Worth Knowing
11 IoT Programming Languages Worth Knowing
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Artificial intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky died Sunday from a cerebral hemorrhage, closing a noteworthy career in artificial intelligence that spanned more than five decades. He was 88.

Minsky, a native New Yorker, cofounded the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (now the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) at MIT in 1959, a year after he joined the faculty at university's electrical engineering and computer science department, according to a statement from the laboratory. That laboratory emerged long before supercomputers came on the scene in 1972.

With an ever-present curious streak, Minsky delved into transforming computers into machines that could react with human-like perception and intelligence. His goal was to replicate the brain's function on a computer, which in turn would help people learn about the human brain and higher-levels of thinking.

(Image: MIT)

(Image: MIT)

Minsky's book The Society of Mind, which was published in 1985, was considered groundbreaking work regarding the various mechanisms that interacted in intelligence and thought. His last book, The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind, was published in 2006.

"Marvin Minsky helped create the vision of artificial intelligence as we know it today," Daniela Rus, director of the laboratory, said in a statement. "The challenges he defined are still driving our quest for intelligent machines and inspiring researchers to push the boundaries in computer science."

Minsky was also a founding member of MIT's Media Lab, created in 1985 to explore a wide breadth of topics, from treating neurological disorders with digital approaches to advanced imaging technologies that can peer around corners.

[See AI, Machine Learning Rising in the Enterprise.]

"Marvin talked in riddles that made perfect sense, were always profound and often so funny that you would find yourself laughing days later," Nicholas Negroponte, cofounder of MIT's Media Lab and founder of the One Laptop per Child Association, said in a statement. "His genius was so self-evident that it defined 'awesome.'"

Minsky received the A.M. Turing Award in 1969 for his work in artificial intelligence. That award is considered the top honor in computer science. Others included the Computer Pioneer Award from the IEEE Computer Society and the Dan David Foundation Prize for the Future of Time Dimension titled "Artificial Intelligence: The Digital Mind."

He is survived by his wife, Dr. Gloria Rudisch Minsky, and three children, Henry, Juliana, and Margaret.

Are you an IT Hero? Do you know someone who is? Submit your entry now for InformationWeek's IT Hero Award. Full details and a submission form can be found here.

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Ninja
1/28/2016 | 9:11:18 AM
For decades to come.
Saddened by Marvin's death. I really look forward to an AI platform like Watson getting named after Marvin Minsky. AI scientists will continue to be inspired by his work and vision for decades to come.
User Rank: Ninja
1/28/2016 | 7:45:17 AM
A sad day
And just when they announced an AI had beaten a Go champion. 

It's amazing ot think he was so forward thinking as to found an AI research division that early on though. The idea of what an autonomous computer could do then would be so far removed from what we imagine now, it's hard to imagine having that initial spark way back then.
Top 10 Data and Analytics Trends for 2021
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/13/2020
Where Cloud Spending Might Grow in 2021 and Post-Pandemic
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/19/2020
The Ever-Expanding List of C-Level Technology Positions
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  11/10/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
Current Issue
Why Chatbots Are So Popular Right Now
In this IT Trend Report, you will learn more about why chatbots are gaining traction within businesses, particularly while a pandemic is impacting the world.
Flash Poll