The Future of Storytelling in the Age of AI and Posthumanism

1. Abstract

Computer scientists are building a vast array of machine learning systems (often called Artificial Intelligence or AI) that can perform daily human tasks reliably, sometimes more so than humans. Indeed, AI is becoming capable of capturing the unique essence that makes us “human”: storytelling. Humans are intrinsically storytellers and able to express themselves through stories (Fisher, 1987; Frank, 2012). Moreover, people have always learnt about themselves and made sense of the rest of the world through narratives (Ebanda de B'béri, 2006; Tunçer, 2018). However, in recent years, AI-generated games and articles have already started to emerge (Fitch, 2019). While AI is able to exceed certain functions of natural human intelligence as it gains self-learning capacity in repetitive or analytical tasks, it may have the potential to harness the persuasive capabilities of storytelling.

What will become of humanity if AI can perform such “human” talents as storytelling? Indeed, some have gone as far as declaring that AI will be the greatest danger to humanity (Bramer, 2015). While other scholars have already hailed the arrival of the posthuman era (Wolfe, 2010; Braidotti, 2013) with such advances as neural nets that allow biological (human) and silicon-based artificial brain cells to communicate with each other (Serb et al., 2020). What will the future look like if AI can harness the influential potential of storytelling? What would be the story landscape in this era of posthumanism?

We argue these questions through the lens of persuasion and Transportation Narrative Theory, which refers to the experience of an individual being transported into a world created by a narrative (Green & Brock, 2000; Green, 2004). According to this theory, several mechanisms comprise the transportation experience: reduced counterarguing, connections with characters, heightened perceptions of realism, the formation of vivid mental imagery, and emotional engagement (Green & Fitzgerald, 2017). Through this transportation experience, a narrative can influence an individual’s attitudes and beliefs. We argue that if or when AI develops the ability to create its own narratives, it will also have the potential to create transportation experiences and, thus, influence all aspects of human life.


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Serdar Tuncer (, University of Ottawa, Canada and Boulou Ebanda De B'Beri , University of Ottawa, Canada

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