Society of Mind & Emotion Machine - Marvin Minsky | GratitudeSeries 37/60

As I embarked on the journey of writing 'The Internet of Value', a major challenge I encountered was quantifying emotions. This pursuit led me to the works of Marvin Minsky, often hailed as the father of AI, and his groundbreaking books, "The Emotion Machine" and "Society of Mind". Minsky's insights into human cognition and emotions were pivotal in shaping my understanding.

Minsky brilliantly articulated that understanding is multi-dimensional: "If you understand something in only one way, then you don't really understand it at all. The secret of what anything means to us depends on how we've connected it to all other things we know"​​. This perspective resonated with me deeply, as it aligned with my exploration of the multifaceted nature of emotions in the Wellbeing Protocol.

His views on AI were equally enlightening, especially his remark that "No computer has ever been designed that is ever aware of what it's doing; but most of the time, we aren't either"​​. This statement highlighted the parallels between human and machine cognition, and the limitations inherent in both, prompting me to consider the complexities of creating AI that truly understands human emotions.

Minsky's playful foresight on AI, "Once the computers got control, we might never get it back. We would survive at their sufferance. If we're lucky, they might decide to keep us as pets"​​, reminded me of the need for ethical considerations in AI development, a principle that is central to the DAOcommons Protocol of 'The Internet of Value'.

His belief in continuous exploration, "One can acquire certainty only by amputating inquiry"​​, and his definition of common sense as "an immense society of hard-earned practical ideas - of multitudes of life-learned rules and exceptions, dispositions and tendencies, balances and checks"​​, guided me in constructing a multi-layered approach to understanding emotions.

Coupling Minsky's theories with insights from Andrew Huberman's podcast on emotions and relationships, I was able to define emotions more comprehensively, exploring core neuromodulators involved in regulating these emotions. This synthesis of ideas from diverse fields was crucial in advancing the Wellbeing Protocol, particularly in quantifying the emotional aspect of wellbeing.

Marvin Minsky's work, embodying a blend of AI, cognitive science, and a deep understanding of human nature, has been instrumental in my journey with 'The Internet of Value'. His theories not only provided a framework for understanding emotions in the context of AI but also influenced the development of a more empathetic and holistic approach to wellbeing. His legacy continues to inspire and guide the evolution of 'The Internet of Value'.

For more on 'The Internet of Value' and its protocols, visit here.


[1] "The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind", Marvin Minsky. 2006.

[2] "The Society of Mind", Marvin Minsky. 1986.

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