The future of narrative in a project that studies the hidden
relationships and contextual emergence of language.
Art and Science
In the history of art-and-science research, which began in the late
1960s, one aspect that has received insufficient attention is the
field's relationship to literature (narrative), perhaps because
technological factors discouraged literature specialists from
approaching the field. But now that the use of computers as an
inter-medium is finally beginning to mature, it has possible for men
and women of letters to get closer to computers.
This project uses "the future of narrative" as a theme to research how
computers can offer humor, wisdom, and inspiration. So far,
art-and-science research projects have focused mainly on nonverbal
communication modes, such as feeling and atmosphere. In i.plot, the
logical meaning of language and its intuitive aspects, such as
atmosphere and feeling, have been joined together.
A future of narrative that can generate interactive literature and
scripts for interactive cinema.
1. Inspiration Space
This system discovers the hidden connections between words. It
determines that a connection between words exists if two words are
found in the same thought-form or make up a stimulus-response pair in the Edinburgh Associative Thesaurus. Then it finds several connections between the two words by tracing a large set of possible paths between them, so that the paths traverse several two-word connections. If the chaos engine is in an appropriate state, a preference may be added so that longer paths are displayed, or so that the paths are forced to connect through a more distantly connected
word. The user may further expand the connections of any word of interest.
2. Inspiration Restaurant Guide
A restaurant guide based on the inspiration system was built from
France Télécom's Yellow Pages database. Each of the restaurant
categories and locations in Paris was entered into the system and
connected to related words (pizzeria: italian food, tomato; crêperie:
date, sweets; fast food: quick, cheap).
Users select (or ask the system to select) a location and input their
preferences for restaurant atmosphere. A set of words appears, and
users can select any word that appears on the screen. The system
searches for a restaurant type closely related to that word, and a
nearby restaurant of that type is displayed on the screen.
3. Context Inspiration
Using data obtained from the open database WordNet (Princeton
University) as well as manual categorization, the words in the database
were classified according to their grammatical properties in six
categories: who, what, where, when, how, and verb.
Users seed the system with a few idea words. The system then generates
a sentence of various lengths ranging from two to five words (minus
articles, conjunctions, etc.) based on these input words. Wherever
there is a blank space in the sentence, the system fills it in, seeking
words inspirationally linked to the words surrounding the space.
4. Symbol Inspiration
Rather than attaching symbols to existing word associations, the system
applies a set of associations directly between symbols. These
associations are based on the thought-forms explained above, where
connections are based on geometric forms. Users can seed the engine by
entering words linked to images in the input textboxes or by clicking
one of the colored thought-form buttons at the top of the screen.
5. Inspiration Blog
The blog system allows the system to accept complete sentences as
input. Connections between key words in the sentence are all
considered, and intersecting words are displayed on the screen. The
connections between each entry and the preceding entry are also
included, so that the context generated within each entry is
6. Robot Agent Interface
The robot's emotional expression and synthesized voice are
automatically generated in accordance with the inspirational word
context. When users interact with the inspiration system, the key words
are extracted by the system and converted into behaviors via
language-emotion mapping and sent to the robot over a Bluetooth connection.
The next phase of interaction technology and expression between
computers and humans will focus on interactive narrative methods.
Routine human-computer interactions still generate many logical, boring
experiences. This project, because it provides inspiration containing
humor and wisdom, offers people new opportunities for stimulation and
It seems certain that in the future, through the addition of narrative
technology to art and science, a new, creative "interactive
narrativity" will develop and generate a new era of human-machine
tosa (at) mm.media.kyoto-u.ac.jp
Editorial Engineering Lab
Kwansai Gakuin University