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Questions and Answers - The Cover Story
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Mon, Apr. 19th, 2004 12:58 am
Questions and Answers

OK, here are some of the questions I was asked in the previous thread, with answers:



Which Star Trek character do you most identify with and why?

I would have to say Jean-Luc Picard, because he's really the character I think of whenever I am trying to make a major decision -- WWPD?

What do you consider to be your best achievement in life so far?

Graduating WPI at 19.

Why do you use LiveJournal?

Because it allows me to communicate useful or amusing information to my friends in a manner that they can check at their leisure, and is more flexible and versatile that doing the same job with a newsgroup or email list.




1) Given the free time, what subject would you most like to dig into and understand? RF & Motor Control? Postscript generation for typesetting applications? Bioinformatics? Advanced animation theory? Assassination tactics?

Computational storytelling. The components, elements, and interactions between the concepts used to communicate dramatic events such that they could be explained in a useful way to a machine, and such that the machine could construct works of fiction of interest to the average reader.

2) Do you plan to keep in touch when you get out to New Haven? Would you be averse to housewarming visitation?

I will, of course, be in contact once I reach New Haven, and I will no doubt be traveling to Worcester a great deal. I will also extend a standing invitation to all of you to stop by as you see fit (circumstances permitting, of course), once I'm properly settled.

3) When you build your dream house, how many square feet of shelf/floor space will you dedicate to swag collected from trade and computer shows?

At present, I can fill an eight foot by four foot bookcase to capacity, so I figure at least 100 square feet by the time I'm my parents age.



a) What do you, personally, feel was the most influential battle in human history?

The Battle of Alexandria, around 47 BCE. Significant not for the battle itself, which was a straight-forward invasion of the city, but for the collateral damage: the destruction of the famed Library of Alexandria. The loss of the Library was arguably the single greatest disaster in human history, setting us back technologically nearly 600 years.

b) You mentioned once that you were raised in the SwedenBorgian(sic) faith. Why do you no longer practice it?

The nearest facility is an hour and a half's drive away. Besides, like Don Williams said, I don't believe that heaven waits for only those who congregate.

c) What puzzles you most?

A riddle presented to me yesterday:

Q: If you were traveling across the Pacific ocean on a jet ski at the speed of light, how many waffles would it take to paint a doghouse?

A: Purple, because ice cream has no bones.

Tags: ,
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Don Williams - I Believe In You

5CommentReplyShare

phoenix1701
phoenix1701
Brian
Sun, Apr. 18th, 2004 11:08 pm (UTC)
Ha ha!



:)


ReplyThread
sirroxton
sirroxton
Adam Augusta
Mon, Apr. 19th, 2004 08:49 am (UTC)

Computational storytelling. The components, elements, and interactions between the concepts used to communicate dramatic events such that they could be explained in a useful way to a machine, and such that the machine could construct works of fiction of interest to the average reader.

Heh, Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler addresses this topic. The book is kind of many minds, so it neither despises nor approbates the notion, or, more or less correctly, it does both.

There was a part where a tormented writer was using a telescope to watch a reader reading a book. He tried very hard to write a book that he felt would generate the perceived reactions that arose in the reader as she was reading. (The writer was later sued for plagiarism. Yes, it was a weird book.)

There was also a machine being perfected to generate works based off of plot elements.

Someone claimed that the stories felt artificial, perhaps because they focused on story elements rather than reader experience.

So this guy who's in love with the reader tries to sneak these false stories into her library by manipulating the book store, so that she can always have a piece of him. It seems like sometimes she can tell, but sometimes she can't, and if she discovers that a book she likes was one of these computer-generated pieces, she feels betrayed by it. This negates her argument.

(Of course, the Calvino novel is ambiguous. Sometimes it seems the computer-generated book thing is just a ruse, but that he still generates the works in methodical, contrived ways.)

Er, anyways. Yeah.

Personally, I think it's a shitty idea. :)

-Adam


ReplyThread
bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Mon, Apr. 19th, 2004 09:39 am (UTC)

*sigh*

*grumble*Closed minded liberal-arts types thinking their field can't be computerized as well...*grumble*


ReplyThread Parent
sirroxton
sirroxton
Adam Augusta
Mon, Apr. 19th, 2004 10:47 am (UTC)

Ultimately, the properties we find most useful are emergent from very, very low-level things. The best we can do in computer science is build our framework around these high-level properties. The low-level complexities and nuances can also be modeled one at a time as they're discovered and regarded important, but ultimately the endeavor to completely quantify is futile.

The human brain is one of those areas where traditional modeling has/will hit a brick wall of insurmountable complexity.


ReplyThread Parent
jjlc
jjlc
jjlc
Mon, Apr. 19th, 2004 02:21 pm (UTC)

I find it hard to believe that a computer could tell a decent story when no one has yet programmed a decent grammar checker. First things first, at least.


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