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RE: Lisp

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Lisp
Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2020 08:25:47 -0700 (PDT)

> That is true.  There was some kind of "AI group" started in the late
> 50s By McCarthy and Minsky, but I don't know to which extent it was a
> formal entity.  I wanted to simplify things by lumping this project
> together with the formal AI lab.

I think you're talking about Project MAC.


I recall McCarthy - it may have been Minsky, or
it may have been both - giving a talk and demo
at Cornell in the mid sixties.

The main (only?) thing they presented was the
ability to use a teletype to log in remotely
to a computer at MIT, using the phone lines
(modem).  The whole timeshare / individual
login-with-password thing, and an ensuing
human-machine demo dialog with the computer
acting more or less like a personal calculator
(this was before portable calculators), was
looked at as revolutionary.

It's possible (likely, I think) that the
interaction used Lisp; dunno.  They probably
intended to showcase not only interactivity
and remoteness, but also some idea about AI.
What stuck with me, and I think most others,
was the remote, time-sharing, individual-use
thing.  I was a kid at the time.

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