Seminars & Colloquia

Boyang Li

Disney Research, Pittsburgh

"Learning Knowledge to Support Domain-Independent Narrative Intelligence"

Wednesday March 25, 2015 01:30 PM
Location: 3211, EBII NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)



Narrative intelligence (NI), or the ability to craft, tell, understand and respond appropriately to narratives, has been recognized as a central component of human intelligence. Academic research and industrial practices in the past decade show that computational narrative intelligence provides ample benefits for machines aiming to communicate effectively with humans, to understand human activities, to assist and augment game-play, and to produce creative solutions and artwork.

In this talk, I will first provide an overview of challenges faced by computational NI research. One major obstacle is the knowledge bottleneck, or the reliance of NI systems on manually authored knowledge. While the bottleneck has been widely acknowledged, its solutions have not been thoroughly investigated.

The bulk of the talk will address the challenge of learning complex structured knowledge to support narrative intelligence. I will introduce the Scheherazade system, which learns a graphical knowledge structure, known as plot graphs, from a small set of crowdsourced exemplar stories. A plot graph captures how social or procedural situations typically unfold as a sequence of events, and subsequently enables the creation, telling, and understanding of stories. A series of user studies demonstrate (1) the system can create highly coherent stories, even approximating human performance on some measures, (2) the system can tell the generated stories in distinct storytelling styles, and (3) the system can understand stories efficiently. For the first time, the Scheherazade system demonstrates computer-generated stories can match human-written stories on some quality metrics. This work is the first step toward scaling computational narrative intelligence to meet the challenges of the real world.

Short Bio:

Boyang "Albert" Li is a post-doctoral researcher at Disney Research Pittsburgh. He defended his dissertation at the School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology in November 2014. He has published 24 papers in peer-reviewed journals, conferences, and workshops. He is a member in the organization committee of the 2015 International Conference on Foundations of Digital Games (FDG) and the 2015 Intelligent Narrative Technologies Workshop. In 2014, he served on the organization committee of the FDG Conference, and the program committee of AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment. He is a co-author of a best student paper in the ACM Conference on Creativity & Cognition in 2011. In 2008, he obtained a bachelor degree in Computer Engineering from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Host: Dr. Michael Young, CSC

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