I'm currently a visiting scientist at the MIT Media Lab where I'm working on computational creativity. I’m interested in exploring the intersection between storytelling and technology, especially around artificial intelligence, computational creativity, immersive experiences, and augmented reality. I’d like to explore how we can use technology as a partner in the creative and performance process focusing on augmentation and extension.
In commercial AI today, we find that often a computer and human together can excel in ways that neither can do separately. I’d like to build environments and processes where technology is a collaborator or performance partner rather than a tool or medium. I’m looking to explore synthetic character creation, natural language dialogue generation as an actor or improv partner, reactive performance environments, brainstorming participation and ideation, and story understanding/generation.
I’m a firm believer in the physical and social as an element for storytelling and performance. Often technology is used to isolate in a performance environment from phone apps to VR headsets. I would like to extend the types of stories that can be told in a theater environment using technology and then work on ways technology enabled performance can be scalable and accessible.
This takes two main threads. The first is working on using technology in immersive theater: synthetic characters, robots, AR with the goal of creating experiences that incorporate the physical and immersive environments but allow the flexibility of pure VR.
The second centers around digital characters and what we'll need to do to get there. Using modern (and new if need be) natural language processing to build more robust digital characters. Allow these characters to work in environments that are not our own using transfer learning and other NLP techniques. I've given two talks on this - one on the questions we're asking at Basis's HTLCon and the other was NYAI's December Meeting (video coming) where I went into more detail.
The Topher Project, The Place in the System, Vigil and Requiem, and the Narratarium are part of this project. My work is joint between the Director's office at the MIT Media Lab and the Object Based Media Group.