MIT Takes on Quantum ...


The brainiacs behind electronic paper, the $99 computer and making money at blackjack have decided to take on new terrain: Storytelling.

The MIT Media Laboratory recently created what they’re calling the Center for Future Storytelling.

Demonstrating the science behind the power of storytelling can only advance the cause, even if it’s from a technical bent:

By applying leading-edge technologies to make stories more interactive, improvisational and social, researchers will seek to transform audiences into active participants in the storytelling process, bridging the real and virtual worlds, and allowing everyone to make their own unique stories with user-generated content on the Web. Center research will also focus on ways to revolutionize imaging and display technologies, including developing next-generation cameras and programmable studios, making movie production more versatile and economic.

While I’m dubious of the concept of transforming user-generated content into stories, one can’t argue with the meshing of storytelling and the Web 2.0 world.

Frank Moss, the Media Lab director who will spearhead the effort, states in the official MIT announcement that “storytelling is at the very root of what makes us uniquely human.”

Good stuff, but Frank goes on pontificating:

But how we tell our stories depends on another uniquely human characteristic — our ability to invent and harness technology. From the printing press to the Internet, technology has given people new ways to tell their stories, allowing them to reach new levels of creativity and personal fulfillment.


Technology provides terrific vehicles to package and deliver stories. But calling the ability to invent and harness technology as “another uniquely human characteristic” is like saying the dialog on Captain Kangaroo paid homage to Shakespeare.

I suppose you can’t blame MIT for plugging its sponsor, Plymouth Rock Studios, which threw $25 mil into the kitty.

Still, it’s tough to be optimistic about an undertaking that believes technology will reinvent the movies (their words not mine).

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