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“Would I Had Him with Me Always”: Affects of Longing in Early Artificial Intelligence

Elizabeth A. Wilson
Isis
Vol. 100, No. 4 (December 2009), pp. 839-847
DOI: 10.1086/652023
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/652023
Page Count: 9
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“Would I Had Him with Me Always”: Affects of Longing in Early Artificial Intelligence
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Abstract

ABSTRACT The science of artificial intelligence (AI) is not as unemotional as it might first appear. Not only are researchers in the field now taking an interest in how to program affective capacities into artificial agents; there is also plenty of historical evidence that concerns about affect have been present in AI from the earliest years. Examination of archival materials from the 1940s and 1950s shows that affects (particularly as they circulate between men) have been a significant part of innovation in AI from the beginning. This essay looks at one fragment of that history: the currents of affective and sexual interests in and around Walter Pitts, one of the important, eccentric, and little‐written‐about founders of AI.

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