Virtually True-to-Life Story-Telling

There’s a sort of story-telling that has not yet, to my knowledge, really come into existence, though it has been possible for many years. It has been approached from multiple directions; and, if it emerges in no other way, then it will emerge from computer gaming, when AI in personal information technology becomes sufficiently powerful. However, it doesn’t actually require AI at all.

In real life, when one comes to a place, as one interacts with what one finds there one discovers things about the place — stories. We can have story-telling that mimicks this process. What I suggest is that we will see works of fiction that are computer programs in which there is no game in the ordinary sense (though a game in the more general sense of game theory is unavoidable), but there is a virtual reality in which a story or stories may be discovered — without forcing. (That is to say that none of the cheap devices of chose your own adventure books or programs will be considered acceptable.)

An example of the experience of such a game without AI is easily imagined. The user launches the program. There is no prologue. He or she finds himself just inside the gate of a property, with various things in his or her possession. Leaving the property in any way exits the program. Proceeding into the property gets one to things such as one or more buildings. The buildings have things such as desks; the desks have drawers. The drawers have contents. Examing these contents and other things on the property, the user perhaps learns things. Reflections may or may not be revelatory, depending upon the stories. There are no declarations of achievements; one is never told when all the important pieces have been seen. But stories are there and some people find them. There will be writers who learn how to move the user to joy or to fear or to sorrow or to melancholy in this way.

AI can be introduced first for beasts — birds, rodents, perhaps cats. It will be a while before a proper dog can be implemented. (And I’m not so sure about a cat.) Other persons probably first begin as those at the other ends of telephone lines.

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1 Comment

  1. kpm on 10.05.2014 at 02:35 (Reply)

    Your post reminded me of some interactive fiction I've enjoyed reading/playing:

    Shade, Spider and Web, and Emily Short's work.

    (Hello from Greece!)

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