A good story writes itself …

… if you know how to do it. Everyone has been talking about storytelling in recent years, a trend that continues to grow. You might think that storytelling is the ultimate weapon for convincing people to do the right thing, more effective than Smith & Wesson and Dirty Harry.

Uwe Funk, software developer at BSI and a stories fan

Many companies are using storytelling in an attempt to evoke positive emotions with their product. All stories by Coca-Cola are about people coming together and having fun. At Harley-Davidson, freedom and independence rattle out of the exhaust. Nike’s stories let me believe that I am an athlete, although we all know better.

The hero’s journey is the best-known format in storytelling. Every blockbuster sticks to the same basic elements: The leading figure is always living a peaceful life when suddenly, his life goes off the rails and off he goes down the path to adventure land. Our hero gets to know friends, has many adventures with them, and defeats his greatest enemy in the end. Finally, the hotshot wins treasure with his grandiose victory and then heads on home. Fame and glory await him on his return. Throughout the tale, the greenhorn matures into a new and better person.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? That’s the plot of “Shrek”! And “Star Wars”. “Titanic”. Not to mention “Die Hard”, “Dirty Dancing” and “The Fifth Element”. And just about any film or episode of countless CSI series. Even my favorite show, “Monk”, has followed this pattern throughout 125 episodes – and I love it!

The hunger for good stories seems to be insatiable. Now, AI is able to assuage this hunger somewhat. Watson analyzes public reaction and players’ emotions at Wimbledon to automatically produce a compilation of highlights for each tennis match. Or Reuters: The news agency uses Wibbitz, a technol-ogy that creates an appropriate news video for prime time from a simple text.

“It rarely happens that a story has everything it needs: A real hero, a solid conflict, many emotions – and a good reason to be told.”

Uwe Funksoftware developer at BSI and a stories fan

Is that storytelling? Can AI really tell stories? Stories that move us, that make us laugh, that make us think, that sur-prise us? It’s possible, but in my imagination, there is a real hero who weaves emotions with a central theme into the storylines of any great story.