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October 25, 2011

John McCarthy — Father of AI and Lisp — Dies at 84

Wired - John McCarthy was the man who coined the term 'artificial intelligence'. He organized the Dartmouth Summer Research Conference on Artificial Intelligence in 1956. McCarthy not only added a term to the popular lexicon, he founded an entirely new area of research alongside fellow pioneers Marvin Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester, and Claude Shannon. In the years to come, he would go on invent LISP — one of the world’s most influential programming languages — and he played a major role in the development of time-sharing systems.

Nextbigfuture covered the information that John McCarthy gathered about technology for sustaining humanity.

John McCarthy had pages discussing energy in general, nuclear energy, solar energy, food supply, population, fresh water supply, forests and wood supply, global engineering, pollution, biodiversity, various menaces to human survival, the role of ideology in discussing these matters, useful references. Other problems are discussed in the main text including minerals and pollution.




Most of the contentions of those pages are supported by simple calculations based on readily available numbers. Slogan: He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.

John McCarthy PROGRESS AND ITS SUSTAINABILITY page and its satellites will contain references to articles, my own and by others, explaining how humanity is likely to advance in the near future. In particular, we argue that the whole world can reach and maintain American standards of living with a population of even 15 billion. We also argue that maintaining material progress is the highest priority and the best way to ensure that population eventually stabilizes at a sustainable level with a standard of living above the present American level and continues to improve thereafter.

Nuclear and solar energy are each adequate for the next several billion years

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