The Metanovel: Writing Stories by Computer

Critical Writing
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1976
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Abstract (in English): 

People draw on many diverse sources of real-world knowledge in order to make up stories, including the following: knowledge of the physical world; rules of social behavior and relationships; techniques for solving everyday problems such as transportation, acquisition of objects, and acquisition of information; knowledge about physical needs such as hunger and thirst; knowledge about stories their organization and contents; knowledge about planning behavior and the relationships between kinds of goals; and knowledge about expressing a story in a natural language. This thesis describes a computer program which uses all information to write stories. The areas of knowledge, called problem domains, are defined by a set of representational primitives, a set of problems expressed in terms of those primitives, and a set of procedures for solving those problems. These may vary from one domain to the next. All this specialized knowledge must be integrated in order to accomplish a task such as storytelling. The program, called TALE-SPIN, produces stories in English, interacting with the user, who specifies characters, personality characteristics, and relationships between characters. Operating in a different mode, the program can make those decisions in order to produce Aesop-like fables.

(Source: Author's abstract)

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Eric Dean Rasmussen