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Feeling rather slow


The next J Robert Oppenheimer?
Marvin Minsky Scientist
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I remember one day some teacher was talking about me when I was… they didn’t know I was in the room, and one of them said, maybe he’s another J Robert Oppenheimer.  So that seemed very strange to me because I’d never heard of a person whose first name was a single letter, and I didn’t know what that meant for some years later.  But… but he had been a student at Fieldston School a few years before, and of course when I was at graduate school at Princeton I met him later and he took me to lunch with Einstein and Gödel and visitors like that, von Neumann... people from time to time.

Marvin Minsky (1927-2016) was one of the pioneers of the field of Artificial Intelligence, founding the MIT AI lab in 1970. He also made many contributions to the fields of mathematics, cognitive psychology, robotics, optics and computational linguistics. Since the 1950s, he had been attempting to define and explain human cognition, the ideas of which can be found in his two books, The Emotion Machine and The Society of Mind. His many inventions include the first confocal scanning microscope, the first neural network simulator (SNARC) and the first LOGO 'turtle'.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Fieldston School, Princeton University, J Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein, Kurt Gödel, John von Neumann

Duration: 53 seconds

Date story recorded: 29-31 Jan 2011

Date story went live: 09 May 2011