We Write is a flexible Trusted Augmented Creativity tool to improve and study the creative process. Novel IT are mature enough to be used to empower the creative process, in particular for texts. The idea is to create a flexible platform for text editing able to: overcome the limitations of classic text editor, allowing users to develop non-linear texts, or providing users with features to facilitate the editing (block swapping, version comparisons, etc).
All these features will provide a huge and strategic kind of data about the users that will fuel our research lines on the study of human creativity and the impact of new possibilities opened by novel Information and Artificial Intelligence Technologies. The outcomes of this research will then be used to develop new tools and algorithms to furtherly boost effectiveness.
Each Sony CSL researcher sets an ambitious goal and approaches it systematically using Open Systems Science, publishing his or her findings along the way. We believe that the best results are produced by individuals acting independently, or as members of an ad hoc team, and that a laboratory should offer the best possible conditions to support such activities. At Sony CSL, value is assessed by the degree to which achievements are perceived to contribute to humanity and society, to new science and technology, to industrial progress, and to product development.
This is the environment in which our researchers work for the global good, seeking to use their findings to change the world in which we live. The benefits of this research are returned to society through the activities of the Sony Group or commercialized through in-house business proposals. Studying extremely diverse realms of knowledge, and motivated to make a meaningful contribution, Sony CSL researchers inspire each other to keep exploring new domains, new concepts, new business areas and new technologies.
The WeWrite Philosophy
Writing is a complex process. Yet, almost all current text editors seem to be designed as if authors already know exactly what they want to write from the beginning, and they just have to type it down in a linear and straightforward way. But whoever tried to put some words in a meaningful order knows that writing is much more complex than that. Sometimes you just want to explore different solutions. Sometimes you just want to write some brilliant intuition you had, but you still do not know where to place it in the text. Sometimes you first want to create a structure and fill it in later. Sometimes you want to try to write an alternative version of a paragraph, but without discarding the original. Sometimes you just what to explore different sentence orders. And many times you want to do two or more of these things at once. Possibly, while cooperating with other authors.
Standard editors do not support these behaviours. Users are forced to edit a single string of text, compressing the writing process in a bounded, one-dimensional word. The philosophy of WeWrite is to create an environment where creativity, exploration, recombination, and, more in general, the complexities of the evolution of a text are supported to their wildest extents. One of the basic concepts behind this philosophy is that technology should be shaped around us, and not vice-versa. And, in particular, our IT tools should be designed around the human mental process. And writing, in particular, is a process that suffers a lot the technological constraints, despite the impressive advances of the last decades.
We believe that shifting the paradigm of technology design toward the creation of tools actually conceived for humans is one of the most urgent challenges of the Information Age. If we design the access to the news without taking into account the human lack of will to verify them, we will have disinformation spreading. If we conceive our contents recommender systems without taking into account homophily and the confirmation bias, we will have polarization and undermining of social dialogue. And if we have text editors that constrain the creative process we will have… frustrated authors and worse texts. OK, yes, we know the general target is very high, but every long journey starts with a single, small step. So, let’s start.