Marvin Lee Minsky (born August 9, 1927) is an American scientist in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), co-founder of MIT's AI laboratory, author of several texts on AI and philosophy, and winner of the 1969 Turing Award.
- In today's computer science curricula [...] almost all their time is devoted to formal classification of syntactic language types, defeatist unsolvability theories, folklore about systems programming, and generally trivial fragments of "optimization of logic design"–the latter often in situations where the art of heuristic programming has far outreached the special-case "theories" so grimly taught and tested–and invocations about programming style almost sure to be outmoded before the student graduates.
- Computer languages of the future will be more concerned with goals and less with procedures specified by the programmer.
- Speed is what distinguishes intelligence. No bird discovers how to fly: evolution used a trillion bird-years to 'discover' that–where merely hundreds of person-years sufficed.
- "Communication with Alien Intelligence", in Extraterrestrials: Science and Alien Intelligence, Edward Regis, Ed., Cambridge University Press, 1985
- Also published in Byte Magazine, April 1985
- We rarely recognize how wonderful it is that a person can traverse an entire lifetime without making a single really serious mistake—like putting a fork in one's eye or using a window instead of a door.
- The Society of Mind (1987)
- For generations, scientists and philosophers have tried to explain ordinary reasoning in terms of logical principles—with virtually no success. I suspect this enterprise failed because it was looking in the wrong direction: common sense works so well not because it is an approximation of logic; logic is only a small part of our great accumulation of different, useful ways to chain things together.
- The Society of Mind (1987), p. 187
- What magical trick makes us intelligent? The trick is that there is no trick. The power of intelligence stems from our vast diversity, not from any single, perfect principle.
- The Society of Mind (1987), p. 308
- An ethicist is someone who sees something wrong with whatever you have in mind.
- TED talk, February 2003
- Will robots inherit the earth? Yes, but they will be our children.
- Scientific American, October 1994 
- You don't understand anything until you learn it more than one way.
- In Rebecca Herold, Managing an Information Security and Privacy Awareness and Training Program (2005), 101.
- I cannot articulate enough to express my dislike to people who think that understanding spoils your experience… How would they know?
- Mat Buckland, AI Techniques for Game Programming (2002), Cincinnati, OH: Premier Press, 36 (ISBN 1-931841-08-X).
Quotes about Marvin Minsky 
- Although my own previous enthusiasm has been for syntactically rich languages like the Algol family, I now see clearly and concretely the force of Minsky's 1970 Turing lecture, in which he argued that Lisp's uniformity of structure and power of self reference gave the programmer capabilities whose content was well worth the sacrifice of visual form.