…suppose Romeo is in love with Juliet, but in our version of the story, Juliet is a fickle lover. The more Romeo loves her, the more she wants to run away and hide. But when he takes the hint and backs off, she begins to find him strangely attractive. He, on the other hand, tends to echo her: he warms up when she loves him and cools down when she hates him.
So begins this guest article on mathematical modelling of relationships. I got an extra kick out of it because of the reference to work done at Worcester Polytechnic Institute – my own alma mater, class of 1991 thankyouverymuch. I do think it oversimplifies things, although I have to admit that as as computer programmer and a fan of drama, artificial intelligence and natural language processing, I have long daydreamed about programs that could accurately model and answer questions such as “Why does Juliet love Romeo?” and have it give a half decent response. Or even better, give it a few key plot points relevant to the relationship, and then have the program sketch out the rest of the story. (I could go into detail about work done by Roger Schank on story generation, if people are interested… :)) It’s articles like this that suggest one day that might actually be possible.