Society Of Mind

In a step-by-step process, Marvin Minsky constructs a model of human intelligence which is built up from the interactions of simple parts called Agents, which are themselves mindless. He describes the postulated interactions as constituting a "society of mind", hence the title... Minsky first started developing the theory with Seymour Papert in the early 1970s. Minsky said that the biggest source of ideas about the theory came from his work in trying to create a machine that uses a robotic arm, a video camera, and a computer to build with children's blocks.

A core tenet of Minsky's philosophy is that "minds are what brains do". The society of mind theory views the human mind and any other naturally evolved cognitive systems as a vast society of individually simple processes known as agents. These processes are the fundamental thinking entities from which minds are built, and together produce the many abilities we attribute to minds. The great power in viewing a mind as a society of agents, as opposed to the consequence of some basic principle or some simple formal system, is that different agents can be based on different types of processes with different purposes, ways of representing knowledge, and methods for producing results. This idea is perhaps best summarized by the following quote: What magical trick makes us intelligent? The trick is that there is no trick. The power of intelligence stems from our vast Diversity, not from any single, perfect principle.

cf Global Brain?

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