The book is a sequel to Minsky's earlier book "Society of Mind".
Minsky argues that emotions are different ways to think that our mind uses to increase our intelligence. He challenges the distinction between emotions and other kinds of thinking. His main argument is that emotions are "ways to think" for different "problem types" that exist in the world. The brain has rule-based mechanism (selectors) that turns on emotions to deal with various problems.
The book reviews the accomplishments of AI, what and why is complicated to accomplish in terms of modeling how human beings behave, how they think, how they experience struggles and pleasures.
Outline of "The Emotion Machine"
Minsky outlines the book as follows:
- "We are born with many mental resources."
- "We learn from interacting with others."
- "Emotions are different Ways to Think."
- "We learn to think about our recent thoughts."
- "We learn to think on multiple levels."
- "We accumulate huge stores of commonsense knowledge."
- "We switch among different Ways to Think."
- "We find multiple ways to represent things."
- "We build multiple models of ourselves."