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  • Lecture Series with Dr. Andrew Gordon - Playing Story Creation Games With Logical Abduction

    Tue, Apr 02, 2019 @ 07:30 PM - 09:00 PM

    Viterbi School of Engineering Student Organizations

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    Speaker: Dr. Andrew S. Gordon, Research Associate Professor of Computer Science and Director of Interactive Narrative Research at USC ICT

    Talk Title: Playing Story Creation Games With Logical Abduction

    Series: AAAI@USC Lecture Series

    Abstract: Story Creation Games, such as Rory's Story Cubes and the Tell Tale card game, require players to invent creative and coherent narratives from a set of unconnected elements assembled by random chance, e.g., the throw of a die or the draw of a card. Often producing comical and entertaining storylines, these games also demonstrate the remarkable human capacity for sense-making, where one's knowledge and experience is used to explain the co-occurrence of novel combinations of observations. In this talk, I describe our recent efforts to build a computer program that could successfully play story creation games. We view this task as an interpretation problem, where the aim is to identify a coherent narrative where each narrative element plays a structural role. Our approach is to solve this interpretation problem using logical abduction, searching for sets of narrative assumptions that logically entail each of the given narrative elements. The search proceeds by backchaining from narrative elements through a knowledge base of narrative and causal axioms expressed as first-order definite clauses, unifying assumptions wherever possible. After finding connected solutions that entail the given set of narrative elements, the structure of the proof graphs are then used to generate the natural language text representation of the interpretation. In this talk, I demonstrate this approach in generating eight creative narratives given the same set of three Tell Tale cards, depicting a train, a baseball player, and the symbol of a heart. These examples demonstrate that logical abduction is well-suited to this task, but also underscore the enormous knowledge bottleneck that must be overcome to play this game with arbitrary cards. I contrast our approach with recent efforts to generate narrative text using deep neural networks trained with narrative corpora, and discuss whether these approaches fundamentally change the nature of this knowledge bottleneck.

    RSVP: https://forms.gle/FXMS1nJ8W3oqveYv8


    Biography: Andrew S. Gordon is Research Associate Professor of Computer Science and Director of Interactive Narrative Research at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California. His research advances technologies for automatically analyzing and generating narrative interpretations of experiences. A central aim of his research is the large-scale formalization of commonsense knowledge, and reasoning with these formalizations using logical abduction. He is the author of the 2004 book "Strategy Representation: An Analysis of Planning Knowledge," and the 2017 book "A Formal Theory of Commonsense Psychology: How People Think People Think" (with Jerry R. Hobbs). He received his Ph.D. in 1999 from Northwestern University.

    Host: AAAI@USC

    Location: Seeley G. Mudd Building (SGM) - 124

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: AAAI@USC

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