Artificial Intelligence telling bed-time stories to your kids? I got a chilly “The Diamond Age”-oh-my-God-primers-could-become-reality-pretty-soon-feeling from this bit of news.

TIAM is a proposal for a computer program which generates fairy-tale plots. While fully automatic story generation remains an unsolved problem for computer science, this project explores the links between imagination and computation. Tales and myths; the core narratives of human culture, have been transmitted for generations through various technologies and media. What new forms might they take through digital formats and Artificial Intelligence?

Based on the work of Vladimir Propp, who reduced the structure of russian folk-tales to 31 basic functions, TIAM aims to question the limitations and implications of attempts at programming language and narrative.

I have actually worked with Propp’s formalist schemes before; it is quite interesting when your focus is on story themes. A few of these functions are basic story elements like victory, departure of parents, rescue, wedding and such. They are alloted letters and a ‘formula’ for the story can be produced. You can see this formlua in the upper left corner of the application  in the video above.

(An0ther interesting tool for examining and comparing story structures and motives is the Aarne–Thompson classification system, which uses motifs rather than actions or functions to group the tales.)

Because the program is unable to deliver a finished story, rather only a crude synopsis and illustrations, users have to improvise, filling the gaps with their imagination and making up for the technology’s shortcomings.

Bummer. But breaking ground – I think it is possible to make this work, given a little more time. Keep an eye out for it..

[via via Glitch Fiction via Creative Applications]