The latest book by Joseph Sassoon discusses one of the most advanced frontiers of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

 

Humans are made for storytelling. It has been this way since the dawn of time and will probably remain so until the last man and woman on earth who call themselves humans. This is true even though AI and its machines have been able to tell stories for quite some time on an almost equal par as humans. This is a historic schism, as great if not greater than that of the industrial revolution. And it affects all facets of human activity. This includes the economy and business (which indeed has made storytelling one of its fields of action).

The theme of stories created by machines instead of humans is a delicate one, something that must be understood thoroughly and observed attentively. An excellent guide in this area is Storytelling e intelligenza artificiale.. Quando le storie le raccontano i robot (Storytelling and Artificial Intelligence. When Robots Tell the Stories), the latest book by Joseph Sassoon who is a researcher, consultant, speaker and professor of Brand Storytelling in the Master in Marketing Utilities and Storytelling Techniques at the University of Pavia.

Sassoon explores one of the most advanced frontiers in the application of AI to human activities. He begins with an observation: telling stories might not be something that only humans can do; although in their present phase, algorithms and AI tend to intervene primarily in assistance functions, they can also be considered as more than mere reproduction mechanisms, as veritable creators of new stories and tales.

This is the start of the author’s thoughts, condensed in roughly 100 highly readable pages, where some passages entrance the reader as if it were a novel. Through the looking glass of this book, we thus view our present transitional phase in which software, artificial systems and robots are mastering the secrets of storytelling. Sassoon employs a vast range of reasoning. To help us understand the question, he draws examples from a series of realms that are crucial for modern communication: cinema, journalism, marketing and advertising. He does this by citing cases in literature as well as the economy or even entertainment to usher the reader into the delicate relationship (that is actually not that new) between machines and the stories that humans tell.

The book thus seeks to answer a series of vital questions such as how far machines have come in the ability to tell stories, the experiments under way, the role of machines “that can tell stories” in the entertainment world and in the economy, but also problems that arise in the social, political and ethical realms.

Sassoon does not champion any specific cause but simply explains, thus accomplishing an important task from a cultural point of view, one that is also valid for anyone ‒ entrepreneurs and managers alike ‒ who may be faced with these contexts that are now also part of the business culture. “The fact that AI will soon be able to match us at the level of storytelling, giving meaning to the world,” the author says, “demonstrates quite clearly that our world will never again be the same.”

 

Storytelling e intelligenza artificiale. Quando le storie le raccontano i robot

Joseph Sassoon

Franci Angeli, 2019

 

28/02/2019