Storytelling as Curation

I’m reading a fascinating book called “Curation: The Power of Selection in a World of Excess,” by Michael Bhaskar. In it, the author argues that as our world has become increasingly filled with more and more content, the more we need filters to tell us what’s important. As a result, we rely on people and algorithms to organize it all.

Editing content and shaping stories is exactly the same. It’s said there’s three processes to a film’s story: there’s the story of the script, the story that’s filmed on set, and the story that’s shaped in the edit bay. That process is curation. It’s defining and refining what’s important and bringing it to an audience.

This isn’t an easy task. We’ve figured out the math behind what makes a great pop song. And deep learning and AI is teaching computers to edit. But is it enough to leave these things to math and science? Can we rely on stories told by computers, even if they are programmed by humans?

I don’t think so. Humans have innate need to create. We also have an innate need for meaning. Storytelling has been a human process for thousands of years. No matter how much we teach computers and figure out the science, there will always be a need for the non-science, the illogical nature of human emotion to connect us to each other.

A powerful story harnesses both the power of curation to select what’s important and create a narrative. It’s human emotion that crafts that narrative into something that connects to the heart. That’s extraordinary storytelling.

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