Toward Natural Language Generation by Humans

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TitleToward Natural Language Generation by Humans
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRyan, JOwen, Fisher, AMax, Owen-Milner, T, Mateas, M, Wardrip-Fruin, N
Conference NameProceedings of the 8th Workshop on Intelligent Narrative Technologies
Date PublishedNovember
KeywordsEIS, authorial burden, dialogue, dialogue authoring, expressionist, natural language generation, nlg, o authoring tools
Summary: 
Natural language generation (NLG) has been featured in at most a handful of shipped games and interactive stories. This is certainly due to it being a very specialized practice, but another contributing factor is that the state of the art today, in terms of content quality, is simply inadequate. The major benefits of NLG are its alleviation of authorial burden and the capability it gives to a system of generating state-bespoke content, but we believe we can have these benefits without actually employing a full NLG pipeline. In this paper, we present the preliminary design of Expressionist, an in-development mixed-initiative authoring tool that instantiates an authoring scheme residing somewhere between conventional NLG and conventional human content authoring. In this scheme, a human author plays the part of an NLG module in that she starts from a set of deep representations constructed for the game or story domain and proceeds to specify dialogic content that may express those representations. Rather than authoring static dialogue, the author defines a probabilistic context-free grammar that yields templated dialogue. This allows a human author to still harness a computer's generativity, but in a capacity in which it can be trusted: operating over probabilities and treelike control structures. Additional features of Expressionist's design include arbitrary markup and realtime feedback showing currently valid derivations.