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Why develop story machines?

Automated story writing is both a research challenge and a commercial opportunity.

The research challenge is to develop and artificial intelligence that models the mind of a creative writer. It would have to generate stories of at least 2000 words that match human-written works, and reveal its inner workings so that researchers and writers can examine how it composes.

That’s a much harder prospect than building a self-driving car or generating works of art. It not only has to create believable text, but also explain what it writes. A successful AI creative writer that plans, writes, reflects and revises would not only write good stories, but ones that are ethical and acceptable to readers – essential for automated computer games or AI-generated TV shows and movies.

Computer-generated news stories are already big business. The next steps include personalised novels, games and movies with computer-created plots and characters. We may come to love story machines, or hate them, but we won’t be able to ignore them.

To find out more, read Story Machines: How Computers Have Become Creative Writers, by Mike Sharples and Rafael Pérez y Pérez, published by Routledge.