Confucius once said “you cannot open a book without learning something.” Stories not only stimulate imagination, but also convey messages that become values. For instance. Dr. Seuss’s “Did I ever tell you how lucky you are” teaches us to focus on what we have and to leave negativity behind us.
Research shows that moral tales with positive outcomes motivate kids to be honest more than stories with negative outcomes. Said differently, “the boy who cried wolf” or “Pinocchio” may not be as effective as “George Washington and the cherry tree” in promoting moral behavior.
Interestingly enough, two researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, taught robots values by training them to read stories where the acceptable turn of events was rewarded. The Quixote technique (as penned by the researchers in February 2016) aims to align artificial intelligence goals with human values by placing rewards on socially acceptable behaviors.
Does this sound familiar? Hypnosis uses metaphors to convey changes and positive suggestions which emphasize rewards. The subconscious responds amazingly well to metaphors, because imagination is the language of the subconscious mind. Metaphors engage the imagination in a task related to the change that needs to be made. The Quixote technique used stories to teach human values to artificial agents the way hypnosis practitioners help people acquire healthy habits and attitudes.