Marvin Minsky's theory of the Society of Mind asserts that the mind is the product of the interaction of a vast society of distinct and individually simple processes known as agents. 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 each agent can be based on a different type of process with its own special kinds of purposes, languages for describing things, ways to represent knowledge, and methods for drawing inferences.
This idea is perhaps best summarized by the following quote from Minsky:
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, page 308)
A review of the Society of Mind theory is available in the article Examining the Society of Mind (http://www.media.mit.edu/~push/ExaminingSOM.html).
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