The History Agent

We can, in a historical search, be interested in events that are in some way like the current event and can shed light on this type of event. Alternatively we can choose to focus on specific antecedents to an event, asking: What are the events I need to know about in order to better understand how this event came about? These are two very different types of searches.

Heroditus, the general principles persona of the History Agent looks for analogous cases that, although they have nothing to with the current case as far as historical cause, contain lessons that apply to the current case. Thus, after the Story Archive gave us a story about the Gulf War, we might expect it to bring up the Vietnam War, Germany's incorporation of the Sudetenland, and the US invasion of Panama.

Tacitus, is the specific examples persona of the History Agent. It is charged with presenting the context in which this war fits. So, when considering the Gulf War, Tacitus would certainly want to tell us about the Arab-Israeli situation, the Iran-Iraq war, the British domination of the Middle East in the early twentieth century, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, etc.

If the History Agent is to be able to do its work, the Story Archive must provide it with appropriate raw material. Taking the example of the Gulf War, the Archive would need to contain information about the event's historical roots directly, and information about the characteristics of the players (large, rich, powerful, aggressor, imperialistic, etc.) in the Gulf War that would enable similarity searches to be made.

The personas of the History Agent pursue these guiding questions:

• Herodotus: "When has something like this has happened before?"

• Tacitus: "What is the historical background of this story?"

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Outline Where am I in the content of the book?

Give Me Alternatives

What Is Next?

What Led To This?

What Should Be Avoided

Give Me Background

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