First Edition of Marvin Minsky's The Emotion Machine; Inscribed by Him
The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind.
Item Number: 46005
New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006.
First edition of this work by Minsky, one of the founders in the field of artificial intelligence. Octavo, original half cloth. Inscribed by Marvin Minsky on the title page. Fine in a fine dust jacket.
Twenty years after The Society of Mind, where he introduced the concept that "minds are what brains do," Minsky probes deeper into the question of natural intelligence. Don't look for simple explanations: he believes "we need to find more complicated ways to explain our most familiar mental events"; we need to break our thought processes down into the most precise steps possible. In fact, in order to truly understand the human mind, Minsky suggests, we'll probably need to reverse-engineer a machine that can replicate those functions so we can study it. Thus, he rejects the idea of consciousness as a unitary "Self" in favor of "a decentralized cloud" of more than 20 distinct mental processes. In this view, emotional states like love and shame are not the opposite of rational cogitation; both, Minsky says, are ways of thinking. This is not a book to be read casually; Minsky builds his argument with constant reference to earlier and later sections, imagining objections from a variety of philosophical positions and refuting them. A steady stream of diagrams helps clarify matters, but readers will be forced to dig for the "aha!" moments: they're worth the effort.