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Storytelling: development and influence over the time

Artificial Intelligence
Digital Branding

The importance of storytelling

Cool evening air, the smell of warm wood and the gentle crackling of the campfire around which people have gathered together after a long day's work. After the peaceful silence of sated, tired people mixes with the crackling fire, one of the people raises his voice and begins to tell: "Once upon a time...".

The art of storytelling is an ancient form of communication that still plays an important role today. Even though some things have changed over time and it's often referred to as "storytelling" today, the fascination with stories and their effect on us hasn't changed. And for good reason: the area in the brain where we store stories is the same part where we store memories of experiences. So a well-told story that we can identify with is stored in the same way as a memory of a real-life event. If storytelling is used correctly, so that a story is perceived as true, it also becomes truth.

As author Patrick Rothfuss so beautifully sums it up:

"Everyone tells a story about themselves in their own head. Incessantly. All the time. And that story makes you who you are. We base our whole lives on that story."

The importance of stories for us humans is shown by the fact that the human brain has its own neuronal networks that take care of storing stories. The readiness of the brain to process and store stories, however, also leads to the fact that they can be used well as a tool.

Business and the Storytelling

Today, it is much easier for companies to communicate directly with reference groups and to take advantage of precisely this effect of stories. Information is no longer conveyed by "dry" texts, but is emotionalized and thus appeals to another area of the brain, which acts and decides much more emotionally. In addition, it is thereby linked to the subconscious. Stories can influence us and thus our (purchasing) decisions.

Influencers" have become a useful and effective bridge for communication between companies and their customers. Visible with images, videos, reels, texts and podcasts, they have social authority and trustworthiness. Through clever storytelling, they are in themselves a strategically orchestrated story, packaged as a real person who shows dedication, behaves consistently, is always engaged and knowledgeable. They are recognized as experts and are regarded in their community as trustworthy role models whose opinions and recommendations are heeded. It is not for nothing that they are referred to as "influencers". They are a catalyst for brand loyalty that feels natural and genuine.

The era of digital storytelling

We can say with a clear conscience that the age of digital storytelling has dawned. It is the tool to connect products, companies and the brand with positive experiences. With feelings such as safety and security, enjoyment and excitement, status and superiority. In the best case, it should be a comprehensive overall experience. And what better way to do that than by telling a story that can be broken down into many little stories and that you hear so often and for so long in different versions, while you can identify with it until you automatically associate it with the brand name?

How creative can artificial intelligence be?

In this context, the use of artificial intelligence is also becoming increasingly important. The text-based AI model ChatGPT in particular has triggered an impressive euphoria. Of course, this immediately raises the question of how creative artificial intelligence can be and to what extent it can support us in storytelling or even do it itself.

The brain, or the neural network of a machine, can be compared to the human brain. It is fed with data, so-called training data, which is then processed inside the neural network. With this input data, the neural network can be trained and "learn". What exactly happens inside the neural network, or how exactly the learning process takes place, we can not answer exactly until today.

Currently, creative intelligence occasionally delivers results that are not directly derivable from the training data. That is, it delivers something that is not an expected response to the delivered data. This can be acknowledged as the machine's own creative achievement. However, it can only do this in the area for which it has been trained. Transfer performances into other areas are currently not yet possible. Whereby one could object: didn't all great masters start by carefully studying and imitating their models?

"Once upon a time, there was a mysterious being known by many names. Many know it by the name ChatGPT, but some also know it as Midjourney or Alexa. It can appear in many different forms and exist in many places at the same time. In the process, it learns from us humans and becomes smarter and more influential..."

Will artificial intelligence influence our history(s)?

What we do know, however, is that artificial intelligence requires intensive use of computing power. This computing power could be achieved by quantum computers. Even today's rudimentary quantum processors are capable of manipulating large fields of data in a single step and detecting subtle patterns in the data that are undetectable to classical computers. Moreover, they can work with incomplete or uncertain data, so they do not need to be trained so extensively.

Artificial intelligence is not yet capable of independent creative storytelling. At least not outside the framework of information in which it has been trained. But we can use it to optimize the tool of storytelling. Because even if it can't map our creativity or even our emotions, its output can still be emotional. A machine doesn't have to be able to feel for us, as recipients, to be able to do that. We will also find space for our emotions and associations between the lines. And apart from that, they can support us in trend research, recognize individual characteristics and preferences of users and help us to adapt numerous products and services and also their presentation. And not to forget: In a world with conscious machines, there might also be the chance to create a suffering-free form of conscious experience for the first time. Without greed and hate, without the constant fear of man that his biological body will decay. In any case, it would be very interesting to find out what stories such an intelligence would tell us.

However, it is safe to say that the story of storytelling is not yet written.

"...many brave people set out to find the heart of the being and understand it. They wanted to subject it to their will so that they would become the most influential person in the world."

But there will be many adventures and surprising twists before we learn the end of this story. Perhaps the end of this story will tell us the mysterious being himself.