Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Enabling open domain interactive storytelling using a data-driven case-based approach
by Swanson, Reid, Ph.D., University of Southern California, 2010, 228; 3418269
Abstract (Summary)

Digital interactive storytelling (DIS) is a compelling new medium for expressing and communicating ideas that tries to transform a normally passive experience into an active engagement in the creative process. Despite the enormous potential this medium beholds, the cost and complexity of authoring compelling stories primarily driven by user actions is prohibitively expensive in many DIS systems. While the graphical capabilities and physical interaction with these systems have advanced at a lightening pace, the ability for open interaction in complex domains remains extremely constrained.

This thesis advances textual-based DIS by introducing a new architecture that allows a seemingly infinite number of complex and branching storylines to be pursued by the user in any domain they choose. The approach uses case-based reasoning methods that leverages stories describing real world events and activities that ordinary people publish to their weblogs every day. The base generation algorithm uses information retrieval techniques to find similar sentences in a corpus of over 1.5 million stories. The weblog stories containing these sentences are used as a proxy for the user’s unfolding composition and the next sentence from the identified weblog story is used as the system’s contribution. To further improve the quality of computer responses, the candidates are reranked using a richer set of linguistic features and finally, portions of the text are adapted to better conform to the discourse of the user’s story. Each of these components is evaluated by crowd-sourcing hundreds of users, thousands of generated stories and tens of thousands of user ratings.

Moving to this type of data-driven, case-based architecture allows the narrative variation in DIS to scale massively, only limited by the number of stories that can be collected from the Web. The breadth and depth of human experiences captured by this approach pushes us closer to free narrative interaction in the full breadth of complex social domains.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gordon, Andrew S.
Commitee: Dane, Joseph A., Teng, Shang-Hua
School: University of Southern California
Department: Computer Science
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 71/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Artificial intelligence, Computer science
Keywords: Artificial intelligence, Case-based reasoning, Interactive entertainment, Natural language processing, Storytelling
Publication Number: 3418269
ISBN: 978-1-124-16417-5
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