In this interview Minsky comes up with some new, different, but interesting insights on the basis of what emotions are. Minsky argues that emotions are simply another way of thinking, one that computers could perform if given enough resources:
“Somehow, most theories of how the mind works have gotten confused by trying to divide the mind in a simple way. My view is that the reason we’re so good at things is not that we have the best way but because we have so many ways, so when any one of them fails, you can switch to another way of thinking. So instead of thinking of the mind as basically a rational process which is distorted by emotion, or colored and made more exciting by emotion — that’s the conventional view — emotions themselves are different ways to think. Being angry is a very useful way to solve problems, for instance, by intimidating an opponent or getting rid of people who bother you.”
Very interestingly, Minsky takes away all the mistery and magic out of love:
“There’s short-term infatuation, where someone gets strongly attracted to someone else, and that’s probably very often a turning-off of certain things rather than something extra: It’s a mental state where you remove your criticism. So to say someone is beautiful is not necessarily positive, it may be something happening so you can’t see anything wrong with this person. And then there are long-term attachments, where you adopt the goals of the other person and somehow make serious changes in what you’re going to do.”
So what does that mean for designing products and services?? Exactly, this would mean that love is a mental state that is much easier to grasp, to understand. People could remove all of their criticism when falling in love with a new chair. What? you tell me it’s not comfortable? What a thing to say, this chair is amazing… One month later, you are fed up with your butt feeling like a piece of wood and you realise you were just temporarily infatuated and didn’t see straight… so much for love. You place an extra pillow on it when you sit down and voila! there’s your adaptation (you adopted the lack of comfort of the chair as a fact) and you are ready for some long-term attachment with this nice chair.
With this example, I see what Minsky is talking about, but what about those perfect “relationships” that were great from the start and still are? Isn’t there still some magic in that?