"I can repeat the question, but am I bright enough to ask it?"


2003

"What are the pressing scientific issues for the nation and the world, and what is your advice on how I can begin to deal with them?"


My idea is that the whole "Homeland Defense" thing is too cost-ineffective to be plausible.

Marvin Minsky

Mr. President:

My idea is that the whole "Homeland Defense" thing is too cost-ineffective to be plausible. The lifetime cost of, for example, preventing each airplane-crash fatality will be the order of $100,000,000—and we could save a thousand times as many lives at the same cost by various simple public-health measures.

Conclusion: what we really need is a "Homeland Arithmetic" reorganization.

Yours truly,

Marvin Minsky
Mathematician and computer scientist
Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences; Cofounder of Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
MIT
Author of eight books, including The Society of Mind.

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