Many artificial intelligence (AI) researchers believe one of the major breakthroughs in AI will be creating systems that are effective story-tellers. University College Dublin's Tony Veale says story-telling is an essential component of the human condition, and therefore computers need the same capability in order to better understand and communicate with humans.
Efforts to create story-telling computers go back to the late 1970s and the creation of the Tale-Spin program at the University of California, Irvine. Story telling is very difficult to teach to computers: you not only need to be able to create casts of characters, but have them interact in ways to propel a narrative forward without being too dull or obviously contrived. One of the keys to making stories interesting is novelty; narratives that follow convention but also do something new. However, this explicit breaking of the rules is very tricky to emulate in software.
Still, story-telling computers could have numerous applications. Researchers envision a wide array of possibilities, from software aids for human story-tellers to investigative journalist AIs and video-game designers. Veale says computers that tell stories also will understand how the world works and encourage people "to engage more on an intellectual level."
From New Scientist
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