Marvin Minsky: The Society of Mind
Note: This CD-ROM works only on a Macintosh computer; it is currently installed on the iMac (the aqua colored Macintosh near the door).
I. BRIEF OVERVIEW OF STRUCTURE AND CONTENT:
The Society of Mind is a CD-ROM "expanded book" which provides hypertext links between related areas of text, as well as supplementing the text with Quicktime movie clips. Minsky's book "tries to explain how minds work." His term "Society of Mind" refers to a scheme in which each mind is envisioned as being made up of many smaller processes. These smaller processes or agents are joined into "societies" in ways that lead to "true intelligence." Any good theory of mind, according to Minsky, has to explain how minds are built up from smaller, simpler units of "mindless stuff."
II. STARTING UP THE SOCIETY OF MIND:
Take the Marvin Minsky: The Society of Mind CD-ROM from its case and place it in the CD carrier of the computer. Double-click on the following icons:
- The CD ROM PROGRAMS folder icon;
- The minsky society of mind folder icon;
- The Society of Mind folder icon;
- The Society of Mind icon.
If you do not see these icons, please ask a staff member for assistance.
The CD-ROM should begin with an image of a piece of art from the series "Machine Dreams" by Charlotte Minsky Porson, accompanied by a snippet of music played by Marvin Minsky. After a few seconds, the Copyright page appears. From the Copyright page, you can enter the rest of the material either by pressing the keyboard's right arrow key, which will deposit you at the Contents Overview page; or by clicking on the bookmark icon at bottom right, which will deposit you at the last page used. To proceed from the Contents page, click on a chapter heading and then click on a subheading.
III. USING THE SOCIETY OF MIND:
The CD-ROM can be navigated in several ways:
- By selecting items directly from the Contents page.
- By using the Tool Palette (see below for details). If you don't see the palette, press [apple-T].
- By pressing the right or left arrow key.
- By clicking on the Building Block (see below for details).
- By clicking on the red dots at the top right corner of the screen. These dots measure your progress through a section.
Several useful features may be selected from the Books drop-down menu at the top of the screen. (NOTE: If the drop-down menu bar is not visible, move the pointer to the top of the screen and it will appear.) Selecting The Society of Mind takes you back to the introductory screen. Annotations makes annotations and glossary links visible; words underlined with gray may be clicked to activate these links. Notebook calls up a notebook to be used for taking notes. Help ([apple-?]) accesses a menu of help topics.
Summary of Tool Palette Items:
- Page: the Page button at the top of the tool panel allows you to "turn" pages either forward or backward by clicking on the arrows either left or right. To get to a distant page immediately, click on the Page button, which will open a window allowing you to select the number of a new page or section.
- Chapter: the Chapter button allows you to skip forward or backward by larger increments. To move several pages at a time, click on the arrows either left or right. To see an overview of all the chapters, click and hold on Chapter; move to the chapter of your choice and release the mouse to go to that chapter directly. When a chapter title is highlighted, a second drop-down box appears, giving you the option of moving directly to any section within the chapter. Chapter is the most helpful compass for navigating through The Society of Mind. It is the only way to summon an overview of the material from any location.
- Find: the Find button allows you to search the entire CD-ROM for specific words. The easiest way to enter a search term is actually to select Find directly from the Books menu, rather than from the Tool Palette. Clicking on the Find button on the palette will also give you a window for performing searches. Clicking and holding the Find button on the palette will give you a list of any "Finds" (i.e. search results) that have already been saved. (NOTE: You can find other occurrences of any word in the text by holding the mouse down on that word.)
- Mark: the Mark button allows you to bookmark pages. To mark a page, click on Mark. You can return to these pages by clicking and holding the mouse on the Mark button or by clicking on the corresponding arrow keys. Choose the item "Mark this page with a message" to add a message that will appear in the pop-up list. Click on the folded corner of the marked page to remove the mark.
- Retrace: the Retrace button allows you to review your
preceding steps and return to any spot you've visited in the CD-ROM by
direct link. To review or to retrace your steps, click and hold on
Retrace, which unfolds a list of your steps.
- P and U: These buttons allow you to underline and remove the underlines from text. To underline text, select it with the cursor and block it out, just as you would with a word processor. Then click on U. To remove the underline, select the text and click on P (for plain).
Using the Building Block icon:
The Building Block icon appears to the left of the screen. Clicking and holding on each of the block's three exposed faces accesses special features of the CD-ROM.
- The Audio and Video Menu (AV) shows Quicktime movie clips associated with the current chapter or section. If the letters "AV" are red, the video can be played as a footnote to the text on the page. If the letters are blue, they are relevant to the chapter but not to that page. If the letters are gray, no video is available for that section. NOTE: to manipulate the video, click and hold the mouse on the moving image.
- The Ideas Index Menu (I) offers a list of other places in the text whose themes relate to those of the current section.
- The Extras Menu (X) accesses a collection of articles and
interactive Minsky memorabilia, including a personal tour of Marvin's
living room. Hold the mouse down on the arms below the view of his
room to turn your "head" a full 360 degrees, and click around the room
slowly with the mouse for hotspots. To exit Marvin's room, use the toolbox or
the arrow key.
In this section, you will also find articles written by Minsky and a timeline of his life (click on the red timeline dots to see videos.)
IV. EXITING AND REMOVING THE CD-ROM:
Exit the CD-ROM by choosing File from the pull-down menu at the top of the screen. (If you don't see this menu, move the pointer to the top of the screen and it will appear.) Then choose Quit Hypercard. This will retrace your CD-ROM start-up steps, bringing you to the window containing the Society of Mind icon. To remove the CD-ROM from the computer, drag its desktop icon over the trash can. Please place the CD back in its case and return it to a member of the Etext Center staff.