The team from MIT Media Lab have developed a Storytelling project that can "read emotional arcs" and are able to "map video story structure".
They wrote on their website: "The Storytelling project uses machine-based analytics to identify the qualities of engaging and marketable media. By developing models with the ability to "read" emotional arcs and semantic narrative video content, our researchers aim to map video story structure across many story types and formats.
"To complement this content-based analysis, our researchers are also developing methods to analyze how emotional and semantic narratives affect viewer engagement with these stories. By tracking "referrals" of video URLs on social media networks, our researchers hope to identify how stories of different types and genres diffuse across networks, who influences this spread, and how video story distribution might be optimised.
"Given this project's two-pronged strategy, our hope is to develop a robust story learning machine that uniquely maps the relationship between story structure and engagement across networks."
They believe it could be used in the future to help screenwriters "increase engagement" for their movies.
They added: "These insights will not necessarily send screenwriters back to the drawing board--that would be like asking George Orwell to tack a happy ending onto 1984 to cheer things up. But they could inspire video storytellers to look at their content objectively and make edits to increase engagement. That could mean a new musical score or a different image at crucial moments, as well as tweaks to plot, dialogue, and characters.
"As storytellers increasingly realize the value of AI, and as these tools become more readily available, we could see a major change in the way video stories are created. In the same way directors can now integrate motion capture in their work, writers and storyboarders might work alongside machines, using AI capabilities to sharpen stories and amplify the emotional pull."