Roger C. Schank, a pioneering artificial intelligence researcher who sought to make computers think more like humans, died on February 19th at his home in Evanston, Illinois. He was 77 years old.
The cause of death was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, according to his son-in-law, John Riedl.
Dr. Schank was an influential figure in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), which seeks to create machines that can reason and learn as people do — or even better than they do — by using algorithms and data sets to identify patterns and draw conclusions about the world around them. He developed theories about how computers could understand natural language and use it for problem solving; he also wrote extensively about how AI could be used in education and other areas of life where human interaction is essential but difficult to replicate with technology alone.
At Stanford University in the 1970s, Dr. Schank worked with colleagues including Terry Winograd on projects related to natural language processing — teaching computers how to interpret spoken words so they could respond appropriately when asked questions or given commands by humans — as well as memory organization systems that allowed machines to store information much like a person would remember facts or events over time. His work helped pave the way for modern voice recognition software such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant products today.
In 1982 Dr Schank founded Cognitive Systems Inc., one of the first companies devoted exclusively to developing AI applications for business purposes such as customer service automation tools; its clients included AT&T Bell Laboratories and IBM Research Labs among others during its decade-long run before being acquired by Oracle Corporation in 1992 . In addition he served on advisory boards at several universities including Northwestern University’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory where he had been a professor since 1985 until his retirement last year due health issues associated with Alzheimer’s Disease .
Dr Schank authored numerous books throughout his career , most notably “Dynamic Memory: A Theory Of Learning In Computers And People” published in 1977 which explored ways computer programs might mimic human memory processes ; “Tell Me A Story : Narrative And Intelligence” published in 1990 which examined narrative understanding through computational models ; “Engines For Education” published 1994 which proposed new methods for teaching students via interactive multimedia simulations ; “Designing World Class E -Learning” released 2000 which discussed strategies for creating effective online learning experiences ; plus many more titles covering topics ranging from cognitive science , educational psychology , virtual reality , machine learning & artificial intelligence .
Throughout his lifetime Roger C Schank received numerous awards & honors recognizing him not only as an innovator within AI research but also an educator who inspired generations of students & professionals alike . These include The Association For Computing Machinery ‘ s Allen Newell Award ( 1991 ) , The American Association For Artificial Intelligence ‘ s Lifetime Achievement Award ( 2003 ) & Northwestern University ‘ s Distinguished Alumni Award ( 2011 ).
Dr Roger C Schank will be remembered fondly by those whose lives were touched by him both professionally & personally . His legacy will live on through all those whom he mentored during his long career dedicated towards advancing our understanding of what it means for machines truly think like us humans do .
The New York Times