If Siri seems sad today it's because ...

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by JulianL, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. JulianL macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    ...a close and important relative of his/her's, John McCarthy, has died today - http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/24/creator-of-lisp-john-mccarthy-dead-at-84/

    He created the language (LISP) that was used by the vast majority of AI researchers for much of the early years of the discipline. He is also credited with being the person who coined the phrase Artificial Intelligence in 1955 and speculated on the possibility of using the then-new timesharing systems to provide utility (i.e. cloud) computing way back in 1961. In 1962 he moved to Stanford University where he was a big part of setting up the AI lab there and I'm sure that there was a lot of cross fertilisation of ideas between SAIL and SRI where ultimately Siri emerged from.

    I can only speak for myself, but John McCarthy was certainly one of the people whose work inspired me to get into AI research and I strongly suspect that there are others working in the field who would say the same. Siri didn't spring from the mind of Apple, it is built on the work, the enthusiasm and the dreams of so many people who have been working on AI for decades and John McCarthy was one of the most significant figures amongst them.

    RIP John McCarthy and condolences to his family. October has been a cruel month.

    - Julian
     
  2. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #2
    I've always been a McCarthy fan too. It's ironic that he won the Turing Award since some of his important work had to do with the Turing Test.

    McCarthy must have loved the speedups in computer processing speeds over the years, given the data-crunching that good AI requires, as well as advances like IBM's Watson.

    The ELIZA/DOCTOR program, first developed in LISP, was always fun to read about. You can find many funny conversations where humans thought they were talking to another human but were actually taking to AOLIZA (example). See more about it here.

    I've written a few LISP programs, although it was just so I could say I'd done so. Now I'll go put a My other CAR is a CDR bumper sticker on my car in honor of John McCarthy.
     

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