Who Knows What? Perspective-Enabled Story Understanding
To understand human intelligence, we must be able to model how humans understand stories from multiple characters' perspectives.
Stories are essential to human communication, thus understanding stories is critical to modeling human intelligence. In order to understand a story from multiple characters' perspectives, a reader must form mental models representing each character's knowledge and beliefs. Building on the Genesis story-understanding system, I developed the Perspectives Expert, which enables Genesis to form detailed mental models of characters in a story. I started by annotating stories with characters' entrances and exits, treating stories as theatrical plays. I assumed that characters observe events only while onstage, and I used their observations to populate mental models. Then, inspired by human reasoning, I eliminated explicit stage directions and enabled Genesis to keep track of characters' locations and levels of consciousness. Equipped with this mental-modeling ability, Genesis can retell stories from different characters' perspectives, answer reading-comprehension questions to demonstrate understanding, and perform the first steps of conflict reconciliation by detecting and explaining opposing viewpoints.