What Happened on August 9th
Minsky has made many major contributions to computer science in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), cognitive psychology, mathematics, computational linguistics, robotics, and optics. In 1987, Minsky wrote the landmark book The Society of Mind, which proposed that human consciousness and thought processes were decomposable into a series of mini-minds or agents, each of which performed specific functions. Minsky received a BA and PhD in mathematics at Harvard and Princeton. There he envisioned a “rat-in-a-maze” neural network simulator, which became the Stochastic Neural Analog Reinforcement Calculator (SNARC) built with assistance from Dean Edmonds. His other inventions include mechanical hands and other robotic devices, the confocal scanning microscope, the Muse synthesizer for musical variations (with Ed Fredkin), and the first LOGO turtle (with Seymour Papert). His later work focused on understanding the connections between computers and commonsense reasoning.
Using a Mac Portable aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the first e-mail from space is sent to Earth. Two astronauts on the spacecraft, James Adamson and Shannon Lucid, wrote, “Hello Earth! Greetings from the STS-43 Crew. This is the first AppleLink from space. Having a GREAT time, wish you were here,...send cryo and RCS! Hasta la vista, baby,...we'll be back!” The message was transmitted to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.