The Society of Mind is the book and theory of natural intelligence as written and developed by Marvin Minsky.

Nature of "mind"

Minds are what brains do. The Society of Mind theory views the human mind and all other naturally evolved cognitive systems as a vast society of individually simple processes known as agents. These processes are the fundamental thinking entities from which minds are built, and together produce the many abilities we attribute to minds. The great power in viewing a mind as a society of agents, as opposed to as the consequence of some basic principle or some simple formal system, is that different agents can be based on different types of processes with different purposes, ways of representing knowledge, and methods for producing results.

Examples in the book

Society of Mind theory postulates reflexive monitoring agents termed B-brains to look out for unproductive activities such as possible infinite looping. These contrast with 'A-brains' which are the ordinary non-meta activities.


Minsky's ideas have been developed further by other cognitive scientists, including Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter