Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyArtificial intelligence expert Schank and his team at Northwestern University are attempting to build machines that are ``interesting to talk to'' and also tell interesting stories. An outgrowth of his research, this often intriguing, if overstated probe reflects his belief that ``we are the stories we like to tell.'' In his view, human memory, intelligence and sense of self depend to a large extent on the telling and understanding of stories, stories of many varieties: invented, experiential, secondhand, official or culturally common. Too often, Schank believes, we see our lives in terms of preestablished stories that obscure our actual situation. Getting beyond the ``self-descriptive myths'' we learn from parents, teachers, friends and family members is a key to growth. Sifting the stories told by divorcees, presidential candidates and Tawana Brawley, and in ordinary conversation, Schank offers a different perspective on intelligence and the search for personal identity. (Jan.)
Library Journal - Library JournalThe title is somewhat misleading: this work has little to say about artificial intelligence (AI), even though the author has written several books on that subject. Schank instead devotes most of his attention to human intelligence and memory, which he defines as a storytelling process. Some of his analysis will raise eyebrows among specialists in the library and information field, as when he says: ``It is likely that the bulk of what passes for intelligences is no more than a massive indexing and retrieval scheme that allows an intelligent entity to determine what information he has in his memory that is relevant to the situation at hand, to search for and find that information.'' Those who work with indexing and retrieval schemes would argue, to the contrary, that this is not a trivial process. And the feasibility of a universal, all-inclusive system is still being debated. An interesting interpretation of the thinking/memory process, but lacking in new insights on AI work.-- Hilary D. Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, Cal.
BooknewsSchank examines stories told by a wide range of people, Schank to discover the cultures, motives, memories and thinking behind them. With that information, believes he can create an intelligent computer with a human side--not the kind that can calculate complicated equations, but a computer that is interesting to talk to, one that knows what kind of stories to tell and when to tell them. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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