Putting Minsky and Brooks Together

By Bob Hearn

To many, Marvin Minsky and Rodney Brooks are viewed as the leading figures of opposing AI traditions: one the one hand, symbolic, high-level, cognition-focused AI, and on the other, behavior-based, embodied, perception-focused AI. At its most basic level, the apparent conceptual conflict could perhaps be summarized by saying that while Brooks wants to get rid of the "cognition box", that is all Minsky cares about.

Nevertheless, I'll argue that it's possible, and quite worthwhile, to draw inspiration from both viewpoints at once. In the end, both Brooks and Minsky are after the same thing many of us are: human-level artificial intelligence.

I'll go over some of the basic issues, then show how I've incorporated essential ideas from both Minsky's "Society of Mind" and Brooks's behavior-based robots into my own research.

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