Great Expectations: Unsupervised Inference of Suspense, Surprise and Salience in Storytelling [article]

David Wilmot
2022 arXiv   pre-print
Stories interest us not because they are a sequence of mundane and predictable events but because they have drama and tension. Crucial to creating dramatic and exciting stories are surprise and suspense. The thesis trains a series of deep learning models via only reading stories, a self-supervised (or unsupervised) system. Narrative theory methods (rules and procedures) are applied to the knowledge built into deep learning models to directly infer salience, surprise, and salience in stories.
more » ... ensions add memory and external knowledge from story plots and from Wikipedia to infer salience on novels such as Great Expectations and plays such as Macbeth. Other work adapts the models as a planning system for generating original stories. The thesis finds that applying the narrative theory to deep learning models can align with the typical reader. In follow-up work, the insights could help improve computer models for tasks such as automatic story writing and assistance for writing, summarising or editing stories. Moreover, the approach of applying narrative theory to the inherent qualities built in a system that learns itself (self-supervised) from reading from books, watching videos, and listening to audio is much cheaper and more adaptable to other domains and tasks. Progress is swift in improving self-supervised systems. As such, the thesis's relevance is that applying domain expertise with these systems may be a more productive approach for applying machine learning in many areas of interest.
arXiv:2206.09708v1 fatcat:k4oefywyxvgn5gdtedyvr5mbpi