AI maverick, Marvin Minsky passed away at a ripe old age of 88.
The man was a classic case of genius in conflict. He was a pure amalgam of the mad scientist with ten thousand projects in his mind and the philosopher with an insatiable thirst for the truth.
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AI was his field of choice and he excelled in it. Marvin Minsky was no ordinary human being and it is to him that we owe the invention of the Internet.
The cause of his demise was a cerebral hemorrhage, according to the NYTimes. Marvin Minsky was a computer educator way before computers were even a part of the public lingo.
He taught at MIT and laid the basics of AI as we know it today. He knew that the computer was much more than just a tabulating machine.
It was a brand new world as Minsky saw it and it would transform the world for the better. As an extension of human mental capabilities, computers and AI would revolutionize the landscape and mindscape as we know it.
While he was a student at Harvard, he delved into the mysteries of human intelligence and thought processes. He saw a parallel between human thinking and machine operations.
Such was his marvelously creative mind that beginning in the 50s he started to animate machines to act like humans. This was the beginning of robotics as a science.
He co-founded the Artificial Intelligence Project at MIT. His colleague John McCarthy made up the word “Artificial Intelligence” which instantly became a hit with the people.
Slowly but steadily the world of computers picked up pace until it became a raging voice that stunned the US society not to mention the rest of the world.
The digital age with the information superhighway was at hand. Marvin Minsky built some of the very first scanners. He also created mechanical hands with built-in sensing devices.
He designed the Snarc, the world’s first learning device. He also built a scanning microscope. Marvin had a first class intellect. Things that never occurred to others were normal routine-work for him.
He made connections where others failed to make head or tails out of something. This man singlehandedly brought machines closer to their human designers. He taught many others to think differently and even treated his own children like they were his students.
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Restlessly curious till his last day on earth, Marvin Minsky will be remembered as the man who started it all. The world is a richer place today thanks to this polymath. May he rest in peace.