Artificial intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky dead at 88

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

BOSTON (Reuters) - Marvin Minsky, the artificial intelligence pioneer who helped make machines think, leading to computers that understand spoken commands and beat grandmasters at chess, has died at the age of 88, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said.

Minsky, who died on Sunday, suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, the school said.

SEE ALSO: Kim Richards breaks silence on ex-husband's death in touching tribute: I lost the 'best friend I've ever had'

Minsky had "a monster brain," MIT colleague Patrick Winston, a professor of artificial intelligence and computer science, said in a 2012 interview. He could be intimidating without meaning to be because he was "such a genius," Winston said.

Minsky's greatest contribution to computers and artificial intelligence was the notion that neither human nor machine intelligence is a single process. Instead, he argued, intelligence arises from the interaction of numerous processes in a "society of mind" - a phrase Minsky used for the title of his 1985 book.

See photos of Marvin Minsky:

7 PHOTOS
Marvin Minsky
See Gallery
Artificial intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky dead at 88
NEW YORK - APRIL 27: Author Ann Druyan and MIT professor Marvin Minsky attend the 'Conversations In Cinema: 2001: A Space Odyssey' panel discussion held at PACE University during the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival on April 27, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
NEW YORK - APRIL 27: Journalist Ira Flatow, author Ann Druyan, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, MIT professor Marvin Minsky, actor Matthew Modine attend the 'Conversations In Cinema: 2001: A Space Odyssey' panel discussion held at PACE University during the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival on April 27, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
NEW YORK - APRIL 27: Journalist Ira Flatow, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, author Ann Druyan, MIT professor Marvin Minsky and actor Matthew Modine attend the 'Conversations In Cinema: 2001: A Space Odyssey' panel discussion held at PACE University during the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival on April 27, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
NEW YORK - APRIL 27: MIT professsor Marvin Minsky, journalist Ira Flatow and actor Matthew Modine attend the 'Conversations In Cinema: 2001: A Space Odyssey' panel discussion held at PACE University during the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival on April 27, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
NEW YORK - APRIL 27: MIT professor Marvin Minsky attends the 'Conversations In Cinema: 2001: A Space Odyssey' panel discussion held at PACE University during the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival on April 27, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
CAMBRIDGE, MA - JANUARY 9: 'Hal' the computer from the movie '2001: A Space Odyssey' is celebrating its birthday on January 12th. Marvin Minsky was on a panel of guest speakers who spoke to the issue of intelligent computers. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

"Marvin basically figured out that thinking isn't a thing but an embarrassing mess of dumb things that work together, as in a society," said Danny Hillis, a former Minsky student and now co-chairman of the Applied Minds technology company.

Minsky's insight led to the development of smart machines packed with individual modules that give them specific capabilities, such as computers that play grandmaster-level chess, robots that build cars, programs that analyze DNA and software that creates lifelike dinosaurs, explosions and extraterrestrial worlds for movies.

Artificial intelligence is also essential to almost every computer function, from web search to video games, and tasks such as filtering spam email, focusing cameras, translating documents and giving voice commands to smartphones.

Minsky was co-founder in 1959 of the now-legendary Artificial Intelligence Group at MIT. He also built the first computer capable of learning through connections that mimic human neurons.

Minsky lent his expertise to one of culture's most notorious thinking machines - the HAL 9000 computer from the book and film "2001: A Space Odyssey" that turned against its astronaut masters. Minsky served as an adviser for the movie, which he called "the most awesome film I'd ever seen."

Minsky, who was born in New York City in 1927, was drawn to science and engineering as a child, enthralled by the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.

He also composed music in the style of Bach - an interest he pursued into his later years.

Minsky graduated from Harvard in 1950 with a degree in mathematics and in 1954 earned a Ph.D. in math from Princeton University.

More on AOL.com:
Things to know about police shootings and mental illness
Ford recalls about 391K Ranger pickups due to air bag death
Malaysian PM cleared of wrongdoing in $700 million scandal


Read Full Story

People are Reading