Artificial Intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky died yesterday. He was one of computer science's great pioneers, a brilliant researcher who could translate his insights into material accessible even to laypeople.
His 1988 classic, The Society of Mind, was my first real introduction to AI. I once met Minsky over a long lunch and managed to express some of my admiration for his work; he was modest and warm and engaging.
That warmth and brilliance shines through in this MIT Open Courseware course, also called "Society of Mind." Like Feynman's undergraduate physics lectures, Minksy's introductory course shows what happens when you ask a brilliant master to provide an overview of their area of expertise.
This course is an introduction to the theory that tries to explain how minds are made from collections of simpler processes. It treats such aspects of thinking as vision, language, learning, reasoning, memory, consciousness, ideals, emotions, and personality. It incorporates ideas from psychology, artificial intelligence, and computer science to resolve theoretical issues such as wholes vs. parts, structural vs. functional descriptions, declarative vs. procedural representations, symbolic vs. connectionist models, and logical vs. common-sense theories of learning.
The Society of Mind
(via O'Reilly Radar)