Marvin Minsky’s and Daniel Dennett’s latest thoughts about the brain

David Pescovitz in Wired:

Pl_83_dennett_t_1For half a century, Marvin Minsky has tried to mechanize the mind. In his new book, The Emotion Machine, the AI pioneer posits that anger, love, and other emotions are types of thought, not feeling. The idea will surely stir up controversy. But Minsky – who cofounded MIT’s AI Lab and advised director Stanley Kubrick during the filming of 2001: A Space Odyssey – wants to make us think. His groundbreaking tome The Society of Mind, published in 1986, argued there’s no central conductor of operations in your head, just agents working together to create awareness. In the spirit of collective consciousness, Wired challenged Minsky to a meeting of the minds with philosopher Daniel Dennett, codirector of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University and the author of several seminal brain books with heady titles like Consciousness Explained and Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.

WIRED: What’s wrong with the traditional approach to how the brain works?
Physics gives us about five laws that explain almost everything. So we keep looking for those kinds of simple laws to apply to the brain. The idea in my new book is that you shouldn’t be looking for a single explanation of how thinking works. Evolution has found hundreds of ways to do things, and when one of them fails, your mind switches to another. That’s resourcefulness…

More here.