When you are given a very large number of events, say millions, and you need to tell a story then what would you do?
In good old days, the computational task of ‘remembering’ and then selecting such events was very different. You could just not remember so many events and could not store them even in secondary memory. The best one could do was to somehow remember the most ‘prominent’ ones and used them in telling stories. These prominent events were not considered prominent because there was a well defined mechanism, but because due to some reason they were deemed to be prominent. And because one needed to tell a story, these were the best events one had access to. Moreover, one only had vague memory of the experience of the event and so it was important to make those experiences as compelling as possible. No wonder, creativity or imagination was considered one of the most important factor in story creation. Of course, storytelling also involves conveying the story to the audience. And this meant using oral or written medium. In oral stories, the ability to modulate voice to bring in emotions was considered one of the most important talent required while in written medium the ability to recreate description of characters as well as places and convey emotions using writing was the most important talent required.
No wonder that the tradition of storytelling relied more on talents in rendering the story based on mostly imaginary or partly real and partly imaginary events and experiences in those events. A very important cultural artifact of the absence of technology to store, organize, and select real event experiences is that most people expect stories to be, well just that stories. I often hear: ‘Is this true or is this a story’? How interesting that the fascination to hear other people’s experiences to derive enjoyment as well as knowledge on one had, while fascination to share one’s experiences with others resulted in such a rich tradition as telling stories, but lack of technology pushed the civilizations to accept fiction as a surrogate for facts. Many cultures still keep facts and fiction almost indistinguishable.
With advances in technology things started changing. First due to recording technology (initially for text, then for sensory information such as photos and audio) people started capturing event experiences in its original form and then started using these. Interestingly, these were even used for telling imaginary stories. One interesting thing, however, is that in storytelling the difference between real and imaginary started becoming stronger. Of course some other things also started happening. Imaginary was created more vividly using the original capture technology with modifications in it. But all those areas (virtual reality, augmented reality) recognize that reality is different from non-reality or imaginary.
Storytelling is changing because many stories that were based on partial knowledge of a few events and recreation of those events and were so popular can now be told using captured experiences over a long period of time because all such event experiences do exist. This is definitely resulting in interesting forms of storytelling.