Scripts, Plans, Goals, and Understanding

I recently rediscovered my copy of Scripts, Plans, Goals, and Understanding by Roger Schank and Robert Abelson and while leafing through it was reminded of its brilliance.

While it focuses on the convergence between psychology and artificial intelligence, it has in my mind brought up many stimulating ideas that can be applied cross many different areas of interest. Designers, restaurant owners (or perhaps any business owner whose interaction with customers is a key focal point of their business), software developers, engineers, etc. can all stand to gain from reading this work.

The lessons I’ve taken from the book, while not perhaps what the authors intended, have created in me an urge to understand the scripts that already exist in the domain of the problem I’m working on. While breaking from the script can often create surprising, interesting, and meaningful results – knowledge of what that script says is first required before you can fully understand what it is you’re doing, how it relates to the people you want to interact with, and what their expectations and willingness to diverge from the script are.