McKinsey - AI in storytelling: Machines as cocreators

McKinsey - AI in storytelling: Machines as cocreators

December 9, 2017
December 9, 2017
View Article


Computers don’t cry during sad stories, but they can tell when we will.

Sunspring debuted at the SCI-FI LONDON film festival in 2016. Set in a dystopian world with mass unemployment, the movie attracted many fans, with one viewer describing it as amusing but strange. But the most notable aspect of the film involves its creation: an artificial-intelligence (AI) bot wrote Sunspring’s screenplay.

More Info


McKinsey & Company
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI, also machine intelligence, MI) is intelligence exhibited by machines, rather than humans or other animals (natural intelligence, NI).
Storytelling describes the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatrics, or embellishment.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Photos - Artificial Intelligence329

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI, also machine intelligence, MI) is intelligence exhibited by machines, rather than humans or other animals (natural intelligence, NI). In computer science, the field of AI research defines itself as the study of "intelligent agents": any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal.[1] Colloquially, the term "artificial intelligence" is applied when a machine mimics "cognitive" functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as "learning" and "problem solving".[2]

The scope of AI is disputed: as machines become increasingly capable, tasks considered as requiring "intelligence" are often removed from the definition, a phenomenon known as the AI effect, leading to the quip "AI is whatever hasn't been done yet."[3] For instance, optical character recognition is frequently excluded from "artificial intelligence", having become a routine technology.[4] Capabilities generally classified as AI, as of 2017, include successfully understanding human speech,[5] competing at a high level in strategic game systems (such as chess and Go[6]), autonomous cars, intelligent routing in content delivery networks, military simulations, and interpreting complex data.

Artificial intelligence was founded as an academic discipline in 1956, and in the years since has experienced several waves of optimism,[7][8] followed by disappointment and the loss of funding (known as an "AI winter"),[9][10] followed by new approaches, success and renewed funding.[11] For most of its history, AI research has been divided into subfields that often fail to communicate with each other.[12] However, in the early 21st century statistical approaches to machine learning became successful enough to eclipse all other tools, approaches, problems and schools of thought.[11]

The traditional problems (or goals) of AI research include reasoning, knowledge, planning, learning, natural language processing, perception and the ability to move and manipulate objects.[13] General intelligence is among the field's long-term goals.[14] Approaches include statistical methods, computational intelligence, and traditional symbolic AI. Many tools are used in AI, including versions of search and mathematical optimization, neural networks and methods based on statistics, probability and economics. The AI field draws upon computer science, mathematics, psychology, linguistics, philosophy, neuroscience, artificial psychology and many others.

The field was founded on the claim that human intelligence "can be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it".[15] This raises philosophical arguments about the nature of the mind and the ethics of creating artificial beings endowed with human-like intelligence, issues which have been explored by myth, fiction and philosophy since antiquity.[16] Some people also consider AI a danger to humanity if it progresses unabatedly.[17]

In the twenty-first century, AI techniques have experienced a resurgence following concurrent advances in computer power, large amounts of data, and theoretical understanding, and AI techniques have become an essential part of the technology industry, helping to solve many challenging problems in computer science.[18]


Storytelling describes the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatrics, or embellishment. Every culture has its own stories or narratives, which are shared as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation or instilling moral values.[1] Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters and narrative point of view.

The term "storytelling" can refer in a narrow sense specifically to oral storytelling and also in a looser sense to techniques used in other media to unfold or disclose the narrative of a story.


McKinsey & Company is a worldwide management consulting firm. It conducts qualitative and quantitative analysis in order to evaluate management decisions across the public and private sectors. McKinsey publishes the McKinsey Quarterly since 1964, funds the McKinsey Global Institute research organization, publishes reports on management topics, and has authored many influential books on management. Its practices of confidentiality, influence on business practices, and corporate culture have experienced a polarizing reception.

McKinsey was founded in 1926 by James O. McKinsey in order to apply accounting principles to management. McKinsey died in 1937, and the firm was restructured several times, with the modern-day McKinsey & Company emerging in 1939. Marvin Bower is credited with establishing McKinsey's culture and practices in the 1930s based on the principles he experienced as a lawyer. The firm developed an "up or out" policy, where consultants who are not promoted are asked to leave. McKinsey was the first management consultancy to hire recent college graduates, rather than experienced managers.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the firm expanded internationally and established new practice areas. It had 88 staff in 1951 and 7,700 by the early 2000s. McKinsey's consulting has helped to establish many of the norms in business and contributed to many of the major successes and failures in business in the modern era.

Featured Article1

Featured Topics - TV, Drama and Narratology8

Featured Topics - Artificial Intelligence4

Featured Storytellers4

Featured Universities4

Featured Films4


News Articles20

Sabre launches AI-powered business intelligence solutions for the hospitality industry.
  –  December 15, 2017
We are bringing AI to operations, distribution ... while also providing powerful on-demand analytics and storytelling capabilities. The platform offers a robust data warehousing service to host and integrate multiple sources of hospitality data in the ...
Will AI change the future of music?
  –  December 14, 2017
So how will AI effect the music industry ... doesn't think so. "Music is about storytelling, we like the personality of the artist, I don't think that people will want to listen to music made uniquely by computers," he says. Revellers at the Tomorrowland ...
Matthew Gilbert’s favorite TV shows of 2017
  –  December 14, 2017
The show is still about being a struggling Indian-American actor looking for love and good food in New York, but Ansari’s auteurism has grown, as he alludes to classic movies, toys with linear storytelling ... with an AI personal assistant named Janet ...
Tapping AI: The Future of Customer Experience at Verizon Fios
  –  December 14, 2017
“The most interesting trends in AI are going to be in supervised learning ... Maybe it’s an amazing, rich storytelling hub for your home that allows you to leave notes for your loved ones, that allows you to interact with other parts of your ...
Adext Reveals 6 Marketing Strategies To Increase Your Sales This Christmas
  –  December 14, 2017
2) The art of telling stories that inspire and excite: Storytelling is an excellent way to connect with ... using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). The first and currently only fully automated platform, using AI and ML to plan ...
AI Attempts To Write Harry Potter And It Goes Hilariously Wrong
  –  December 14, 2017
Aside from the antics of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, you can find AI-written historical romance stories ... we can safely say humans have the upper hand when it comes to storytelling – at least, for now. But what we want to know is will there be a ...
Star Wars is colonial fantasy: How our future imaginings are limited by our past
  –  December 13, 2017
Even the artificial intelligence is somewhat backwards in its conception, with advanced AI automatons who act within a familiar ... the hero’s journey — a basic storytelling structure identified by Joseph Campbell in 1949. The monomyth has some room ...
Researchers use Pixar tearjerker Up to teach AI how to feel
  –  December 13, 2017
AI has found its way into other elements of cinema and storytelling. Last year,the science fiction short film Sunspring debuted, its screenplay written entirely by an AI programme, although its plot and dialogue were largely incomprehensible.
The AI filmmaker that could break your heart: Script-writing robot learns to manipulate human emotions by binge-watching tearjerkers like 'Up'
  –  December 13, 2017
Machines could soon be writing the latest Hollywood blockbuster, thanks to a breakthrough in teaching AI about narrative arcs in storytelling. Experts trained machine learning algorithms to recognise positive and negative emotions through thousands of ...
The 10 best video games of 2017
  –  December 13, 2017
But Farpoint was probably the first VR game I ever played that utilized the strengths of the medium both for storytelling and for gameplay ... It’s also about AI. And what it means to be human. And the gray area between “right” and “wrong.”
Artificial Intelligence: A Complement To Great Storytelling
  –  December 13, 2017
... ve witnessed that the media industry in particular has been prone to these beliefs that AI is replacing jobs. But in an era where unique and real storytelling is valued more than ever, AI can be a powerful tool for publishers, brands and anyone else ...
SPORTLOGiQ, Element AI and Kindred AI Make CB Insights AI 100 List
  –  December 12, 2017
The Montreal-based company can then transform raw data into actionable insights for sports teams or storytelling devices for broadcast partners. The company secured a $5 million Series A round this year. “Our AI-powered sports analytics engine is able to ...
5Qs with… Head of Wattpad Studios Aron Levitz on Data in Storytelling
  –  December 11, 2017
This week Levitz discusses utilizing data in storytelling, the type of content that publishers ... It’s the information that exists, but can only be uncovered by Machine Learning and AI technology. That’s what we offer. Having helped build the bridge ...
VR, MR and AI features to play prominent role at Sundance Film Festival
  –  December 11, 2017
More than twenty films, experiences and installations variously utilizing AI, MR, and VR technologies will be part ... “Technology-enabled storytelling continues to develop into a thriving industry. It’s essential to protect the creative spaces where ...
Qualcomm and Baidu partnership in AI
  –  December 8, 2017
Qualcomm and Baidu will work together to optimise Baidu’s DuerOS conversational AI system for smartphones ... mobile phones, TV set-top boxes, storytelling machines, and smart speakers. The collaboration will use the experience of the companies to ...
Democratizing Tomorrow’s AI
  –  December 8, 2017
but rather as a playful experience of democratizing tomorrow’s AI. Favorite details: We’re mostly proud of how the overall experience feels, especially how the relationships between the visual language, interaction, animation, sound and storytelling ...
How To Keep Your Job Regardless Of AI
  –  December 5, 2017
AI technologies have already proven to be better than doctors ... Her first piece of advice is to find a niche, then work on your storytelling skills. The real trick to surfing this new wave of deep learning technologies is translating data into tangible ...
AI-Powered Video Creation Platform Wibbitz Releases New Research Report, Building the Ultimate Toolbox for Visual Storytelling
  –  December 5, 2017
The study's overall findings revealed that visual content makes a noticeable impact on every major business goal, influencing website traffic (85 percent), brand awareness (84 percent), social media engagement (81 percent), and lead generation and sales ...
Spotlight: AI, AR/VR creating entertainment industry of tomorrow
  –  December 2, 2017
AI is delivering new hope to TV stations under pressure from ... VR and 360 technologies are impacting the creative processes of storytelling and music, and transforming the consumer experience. "Our mission is to make the world a more playful place ...
CBS CEO Leslie Moonves to Keynote Innovate, Variety’s Inaugural AI, VR Summit
  –  November 27, 2017
The thought-provoking forum examines the impact that AI, VR and Analytics have on the future of entertainment and media. Leaders will gather at Innovate to explore how these hot trends are advancing marketing, storytelling creation, content curation ...

Related Newspaper Coverage