Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
The Schmooze

Minsky and Machover at the World Science Festival

The much-hyped World Science Festival kicks off June 2 at Lincoln Center, and it’s still not too late to snap up a “Titanium Package,” which includes “tickets for 20 guests to VIP Reception, Performance (with exceptional seating), and Gala Reception” for the modest sum of only $100,000. Yes, $100,000, to see some Broadway-style performers, like the married couple Danny Burstein and Rebecca Luker, who should never have been made the object of such frenzied fundraising. Stephen Hawking and Alan Alda will also be present, among others, but really!

For those with shallower pockets, a June 3 event at the Hayden Planetarium Theater, costing only $30 and $15 for students, will likely be the highlight of the five-day festival: a chat between composer Tod Machover and the MIT pioneer of Artificial Intelligence, Marvin Minsky.

To some, Machover’s music may be an acquired taste. As the son of a Juilliard-trained pianist and a pioneering computer scientist, Machover has the proper genes to be a memorable composer of computer music, if genetics decided such matters. Often, Machover’s music seems to reflect a flood of ideas, some of which may be better suited to extra-musical goals. Indeed, two former Machover students realized as much, developing one of his compositional techniques into the “Guitar Hero” series of video games.

By contrast, Minsky attains the realm of authentic metaphysical speculation on such essential questions as how the mind works, especially in his bestselling titles like 2007’s “The Emotion Machine” from Simon & Schuster and 1988’s now-classic “Society Of Mind.” For those who do not often get to Massachusetts, the opportunity to hear the always-lucid Minsky, now 82, is not to be missed, so we must be grateful to the World Science Festival, despite its frenetic publicity and some of its ticket prices.

Watch Marvin Minsky discourse on consciousness:

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.