Two Artificial Intelligence Legends Publish Sequels

I discovered through a New Scientist magazine article (thanks to Clare) that Marvin Minsky, a.k.a. "The Father of Artificial Intelligence," has published The Emotion Machine, the sequel to his 1988 masterpiece, The Society of Mind


In Society of Mind, Minsky proposed that complex human intelligence arises from layered interactions between simple "agents," which themselves are mindless.  There's enough potential buried in each page of Society of Mind to inspire a graduate-level thesis. 

In The Emotion Machine, Minsky continues by proposing a "Critic-Selector model of mind" where emotions impact the resources used by the mind to address problems.  Some draft chapters of The Emotion Machine are available on Dr Minsky's MIT website


When I went to order The Emotion Machine online, Amazon disappointed me by not having a copy in stock in the UK.  But then it helpfully informed me that one of my other cognitive science heros, Douglas Hofstadter, has also published a new book!

Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach is a Pulitzer Prize-winning "metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll."  The book is a beautiful creation that tackles the phenomenon of consciousness.  Read what Wikipedia has to say about it.

I Am A Strange Loop is Hofstadter's new book, and its title will resonate with GEB fans, as Hofstadter explains consciousness and self-awareness with a model that uses self-referential "loops."  I can't wait for my copy to arrive.


The fact it has taken me this long to discover these books shows just how far out of the loop - the strange loop - I've become. 

Comments (3)

  1. Thanks for your praise!

    I’m surprised that Amazon UK doesn’t have the book.  I’ll see if I can find out why.

  2. RobBurke says:

    Hello Dr Minsky,

    I have had quite the challenge finding it here in Ireland.  I tried 3 different bookstore chains, and one recurring theme is that they seem to have it in their search engines as The Emotional Machine rather than The Emotion Machine. has it in the "usually dispatched between 1 to 3 weeks" category, which means all bets are off for when it’ll get here.  

    I’m going to be in the US in a few weeks, so I’m planning to pick up my copy when back there.  I still remember reading drafts of the chapters from back in 2000 while taking your Society of Mind course, and really look forward to seeing the result in print.  Congratulations on getting it completed and published!

    With best wishes


  3. I’ve just touched down in Dublin after the long haul back from the MIX conference. I had an amazing week

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