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Chris McKinstry

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Chris McKinstry
Born
Kenneth Christopher McKinstry

(1967-02-12)February 12, 1967
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
DiedJanuary 23, 2006(2006-01-23) (aged 38)
OccupationArtificial intelligence researcher

Kenneth Christopher McKinstry (February 12, 1967 – January 23, 2006) was a researcher in artificial intelligence. He led the development of the MISTIC project which was launched in May 1996. He founded the Mindpixel project in July 2000, and closed it in December 2005. McKinstry's AI work and similar early death dovetailed with another contemporary AI researcher, Push Singh and his MIT Open Mind Common Sense Project.[1][2][3]

Life

McKinstry was a Canadian citizen. Born in Winnipeg, he resided several years in Chile. Since 1999, he lived in Antofagasta as a VLT operator for the European Southern Observatory. At the end of 2004, he moved back to Santiago, Chile. Suffering from bipolar disorder, McKinstry had an armed standoff with police in Toronto in 1990.[4][5]

He was known on the Internet for discussing his drug use[6] and making extravagant claims about his technology.[7][8] He claimed that he became a millionaire at the age of 17 from inventing a copy protection scheme "marketed under the names oxylok, prolock, and mediaguard",[9] however, this claim has never been verified.

In February 1997, Chris McKinstry started an online soap opera, CR6.[10][11] According to journalist Bartley Kives, around 700 people auditioned for the show, which only lasted for two months, before McKinstry left Winnipeg with "estimated debts in excess of $100,000".[12] McKinstry later claimed to have lost $1 million in the CR6 failure, and the many people he recruited to build the soap opera, including photographers, writers, a director, and several prominent businesses, never received any of the money owed them for their work.[citation needed]

Before his death, McKinstry designed an experiment with two cognitive scientists to study the dynamics of thought processes using data from his Mindpixel project. This work has now been published in Psychological Science in its January 2008 issue,[13] with McKinstry as posthumous first author.

Death

Chris McKinstry was found dead in his apartment on January 23, 2006, with a plastic bag over his head, connected by a hose from the stove gas line.[14] He was found to have posted a suicide note online. McKinstry wrote, "I am tired of feeling the same feelings and experiencing the same experiences. It is time to move on and see what is next if anything...This Louis Vuitton, Prada, Montblanc commercial universe is not for me. If only I was loved as much a Montblanc pen..."'[15]

There was some public note of the similarity between the suicide of Chris McKinstry and that of Push Singh, another AI researcher, a little over a month later. Both of their AI projects, McKinstry's Mindpixel project and Singh's MIT-backed Open Mind Common Sense, had similar trajectories over the last six years.[16] His death was determined to have been suicide.[17]

In media

McKinstry is the subject of a 2010 documentary called The Man Behind the Curtain which recounts his innovative work and his struggle with mental health issues.[18]

Articles

  • "Minimum Intelligent Signal Test: An Alternative Turing Test", Canadian Artificial Intelligence, No.41.[19]
  • "A Closer Look at Life in the Summer of '76", Mindjack, 2001.
  • "Passage through science", Mindjack, 2001.
  • "Twenty Twenty: Astronomical Vision", Mindjack, 2002.
  • "A Hacker Goes to Iraq", 2600: The Hacker Quarterly, 2003.[20]
  • Epstein, Robert; Roberts, Gary; Beber, Grace, eds. (1 December 2008). "Mind as Space". Parsing the Turing Test: Philosophical and Methodological Issues in the Quest for the Thinking Computer. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 283. ISBN 978-1-4020-9624-2.
  • McKinstry, Chris; Dale, Rick; Spivey, Michael J. (January 1, 2008). "Action dynamics reveal parallel competition in decision making". Psychological Science. 19 (1): 22–24. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02041.x. PMID 18181787. S2CID 25789465.

Notes

References

  1. ^ Mottram, Bob (January 28, 2006). "Legends in AI: Chris McKinstry". The Streeb-Greebling Diaries. Archived from the original on February 14, 2006. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  2. ^ Hendler, James. "In Memoriam: Push Singh (1972-2006)". KurzweilAI.net. Archived from the original on November 16, 2007. Retrieved January 14, 2007.
  3. ^ "Mindpixel Crashes". AlphabetSoup. May 6, 2006. Archived from the original on July 5, 2006. Retrieved June 6, 2006.
  4. ^ "McKinstry in Toronto - Globe and Mail". Google Groups. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  5. ^ "McKinstry in Toronto - Toronto Star". Google Groups. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  6. ^ "Google Groups". Google Groups. Archived from the original on December 2, 2002. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  7. ^ Barger, Jorn (July 2002). "Chris McKinstry: master hoaxster?". Robot Wisdom. Archived from the original on March 1, 2005. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  8. ^ McKinstry, Christopher (July 9, 2002). "Birth of Scientific AI". Google Groups. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  9. ^ "Life on a beach". Google Groups. December 26, 1999. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  10. ^ "Winnipeg crew offers Net soap for cyber fans". The Ottawa Citizen. 1997-01-09. p. 24. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  11. ^ "Canadian soap opera is coming to Internet". The Windsor Star. 1997-01-25. p. 61. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  12. ^ KIVES, BARTLEY (2011-01-23). "Jan 2011: A belated eulogy". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  13. ^ McKinstry, Chris; Dale, Rick; Spivey, Michael J. (January 1, 2008). "Action dynamics reveal parallel competition in decision making". Psychological Science. 19 (1): 22–24. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02041.x. PMID 18181787. S2CID 25789465.
  14. ^ "Two AI Pioneers. Two Bizarre Suicides. What Really Happened?". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2021-09-16.
  15. ^ "So what does a web suicide note look like?". Wired. 2006. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  16. ^ Manjoo, Farhad (September 15, 2000). "Two Fake Brains Better Than One". Wired. Archived from the original on May 28, 2006. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  17. ^ Kushner, David (January 18, 2008). "Two AI Pioneers. Two Bizarre Suicides. What Really Happened?". Wired. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  18. ^ "Home". The Man Behind The Curtain. Archived from the original on March 17, 2009. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  19. ^ McKinstry, Chris. "Minimum Intelligent Signal Test: An Alternative Turing Test". Canadian Artificial Intelligence (41). Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  20. ^ McKinstry, Chris (Spring 2003). "A Hacker Goes to Iraq" (PDF). 2600: The Hacker Quarterly. 20 (1): 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 3, 2006. Retrieved June 10, 2018.

External links