I kindly ask for your comments, questions and feedback of any kind.
Various predictive and rigorous mathematical (/logical/linguistic) frameworks exist for analyzing and implementing agent's world MODELLING- especially that of causality (e.g. pearl's structural causal model) -, their ACTION (e.g. decision theory, reinforcement learning) and some aspects of their COMMUNICATION (information theory; vocabulary, syntax, semantics, pragmatics). I believe one missing link between communication and the former two aspects of intelligent agents is a formal theory of NARRATIVES or stories: At least as far as I am aware, there is no good theory of why we share bits of world model and policy with one another in the way that we do.
This is a very rough dissatisfaction, sort of an itch for having one or several objective functions for narratives that are more specific than very general information theoretic criterions (which are usually agnostic of the structure of world model and policy). I have a myriad of questions that I want a good model of narratives to answer, and think sharing these is the best way to elucidate why I think a theory of narratives - or at least implementable, validatable models of specific aspects of them - is necessary.
The questions below are in not too much particular order, and at the moment still very rough. In fact some questions are so general that I dont expect that they can be answered at all; I still think they are useful/currently the best/only tools I have to make a sketch of the space I want to explore. In any case, I will probably follow up with a post where I try to lay out some terminology more rigorously; and then go into the first two questions more in-depth.
Huh, these are really interesting questions which I hadn't thought about before. Thanks.
The gaming folks are interested in formal and quasi-formal theories of narrative, which have been under investigation since the early 20th century in folklore and literary criticism. Story grammars went computtional in the 1970s. See, for example, Mark Riedl, "An Introduction to AI Story Generation", in The Gradient (2021). Then there's David Elson's Columbia U. Disserttion, Modeling Narrative Discourse, 2012 (PDF).
Thanks for the pointers! The overviews in both sources are great. I especially like Rumelhart's Story Grammar. Though from what I gather from Mark Riedl's post is that the field is mostly about structure/grammar inherent to stories as objects that exist pretty much in a vacuum, and does not explicitly focus on making connections to some sort of models of agents that communicate using these stories.
Right. It's possible that what you're looking for doesn't exist. Though, come to think of it, you might be interested in the work that David Hays and his students (I'm one of them) did back in the 70s. Hays was interested in stories as a vehicle for defining abstract concepts, which is quite different from autonomous stories. Here's a paper that reviews some of that work: Abstract Patterns in Stories: From the intellectual legacy of David G. Hays.