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Pamela McCorduck, Historian of AI, Dies at 80

By The New York Times

November 5, 2021

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Pamela McCorduck, who authored a history of the first two decades of artificial intelligence (AI), has died at 80. She first co-edited an influential book of academic papers on AI at the University of California, Berkeley with computer scientists Edward Feigenbaum (an ACM A.M. Turing Award recipient) and Julian Feldman.

As an English teacher at Carnegie Mellon University, McCorduck got to know AI pioneers like Turing Award recipients Herbert Simon and Raj Reddy. "She was dumped into this saturated milieu of the great and greatest in AI at Carnegie Mellon — some of the same people whose papers she'd helped us assemble — and decided to write a history of the field," Feigenbaum said. The book was "Machines Who Think: A Personal Inquiry Into the History and Prospects of Artificial Intelligence."

"She was interacting with all the movers and shakers of AI," Simon said. "She was in the middle of it, an eyewitness to history."

From The New York Times
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