Monday, October 24, 2011

The father of modern artificial intelligence - John McCarthy - Passed Away

Program designers have a tendency to think of the users as idiots who need to be controlled. They should rather think of their program as a servant, whose master, the user, should be able to control it. If designers and programmers think about the apparent mental qualities that their programs will have, they'll create programs that are easier and pleasanter — more humane — to deal with.

When you read these words, who do they remind you of?
If you thought  Isaac Asimov  you would have thought wrong.   The fact is that John McCarthy a famous computer and cognitive scientist wrote these words in his book "The Little thoughts of thinking Machines" in 1983.

John McCarthy (1927-2011)

John McCarthy passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 84 and as @ColinTheMathmo has said in his tweet:

It has indeed been a black month with the loss of  Steve Jobs and now John McCarthy  and from what I am reading, he is going to be missed by many people, although I have to wonder if  there will be as much publicity as there was for Steve Jobs?

I particulary enjoyed reading about how he organized the first computer-chess match in 1965, pitting his own algorithm against one created by computer scientists in the USSR, with moves communicated by telegraph.  something about it makes me want to go...way to go!

As a person named foenix said " Death is the only guarantee in life and in fact is necessary for human ecology. I too am deeply saddened by this loss, but am supremely grateful that a man like John McCarthy was able to contribute to the humanity's knowledge. May his work be the foundation in many more advances in human understanding, and may his void be filled by someone who respects this journey.
RIP, John."

If you want to read more about John McMarthy, I would suggest that you read "What the Doormouse Said".   for a fun portrait of McCarthy's early life and aspirations.

#Just Saying