Seasons change with the scenery
Weaving time in a tapestry
I was surprised.
I was just eating lunch by myself in the cafeteria. I am attentive, not expressive, kind of guy. Besides this was the first time I was visiting MIT, as a part of Artificial Intelligence (AI) conference. No, my SATs were not good enough to get into CalTech (or MIT), and I am a west coast guy, anyway.
But, lo and behold. He sat down next to me. Obviously, to strike up a conversation.
Ok, now I wasn’t a kid anymore. I was industry-based AI researcher (Hughes Research Labs, HRL) working at the time on Autonomous Vehicle research. Minsky didn’t know me, but, I knew a fair amount about him.
Marvin Minsky, full professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and “one of fathers of Artificial Intelligence”, came to my table clearly because he was curious. Minsky, a Fieldmarshal Rational, had been very successful in promoting his graduate students to getting academic professorships across the lands. The list of his PhD students is more than impressive. He had government and university funding. MIT is a technological power house. Money, People, and Companies have been flocking to MIT well before I was born.
I tried to make our conversation as interesting as I could. Hey, Marvin was a legend in my field: Artificial Intelligence.
After about 5-10 minutes of conversation, me doing most of the talking about the autonomous vehicle project that I had been involved with, Marvin excuse himself, and wandered over to another table with a couple of people and joined in that conversation.
He didn’t get any useful out of me, in his mind, no doubt.
He moved on.
Thanks, I needed that.
I did get something useful out of the encounter.
A slow idea. But not a fast idea. A hint on a part of an idea on how the world works.
It was a Kuhnian moment for me, I knew some things that Marvin couldn’t imagine.