27 December 2012

fridayflash happy brave new year


This is the first time I've included an audio narration with a Friday Flash — just click the Play button above to listen. To be honest, I am less than thrilled with the quality, but this was the best take out of about ten — hope it works for you. If anyone has any tips & tricks they want to share, I'd appreciate them! Should the player not work for you (it's been changed to HTML5, so in theory it should work on all current-ish platforms), and you really want to check out the narration, the mp3 file is available here.  

 "So here we are: we, the people of Earth, on the first day of 2047. We have much to be proud of in the past, and nothing to be despondent about in the future.

"One hundred years ago, our world was recovering from the greatest conflict ever seen on this planet. Though the costs were high, the technology created by the scientists and engineers involved set in place the greatest shift in the lives of ordinary people since the start of the Industrial Revolution. More automation, more mechanisation, more leisure time. Personal computing was born in the summer of 1945; the first instance of the World Wide Web fifty years later. We reap the benefits of that pioneering innovation today, and endeavour to carry forward that same desire for greater knowledge, for better ways of doing everything.

"Greater automation and increased efficiencies came not without costs, costs our ancestors burdened bravely and solved admirably. The factory worker was replaced by robotics. Bank tellers were replaced with kiosks. Any boring, tedious, or dangerous task — driving, cooking, housecleaning, personal grooming — has been given to the machines.

"Humanity has been liberated to think, to dream, to achieve our full potential. No longer are we required for menial, trivial work. It took brave measures to succeed in this, and fortunately for us, succeed we did. Today marks the tenth anniversary of the ninety-eight per cent reduction in surplus population. We, the grateful survivors, the representatives of Earth's global culture, have committed to ensuring we never again exceed our current count of one hundred and fifty million individuals alive at any given time.

"Those that gave their lives to ensure the future of the planet have been freed, freed from watching their lives of servitude and menial labour become outsourced to machines. They have been saved from pain and embarrassment, freed from responsibility. That responsibility rests with us, the living, to ensure their legacy is not sullied. The time for grieving and rebuilding is over; the time for planning ahead has begun.

"It is time to look forward to the world of tomorrow: a greater world. A better world. With our hearts and minds we will create a peaceful, sustainable way of life, a society for the ages.

"One hundred years ago, our ancestors heard an address much like this one, huddled around their wireless sets, listening to their leaders ask them to make peace with the past and look towards the future. I have every confidence that, one hundred years from now, when my sucessor takes the podium and addresses the people of the good Earth, he or she will reflect back on this time as the turning point. This, friends and fellow citizens, is the year when the dreams of the past will be turned into present reality.

"Thank you for your time, and best wishes in the new year."

10 comments:

  1. Couldn't get the audio running in Chrome or Firefox, but it may just be my browser. I couldn't get Helen's video to play yesterday either. If my head wasn't full of seasonal cold crud, maybe I could think my way to a solution.

    I can see why you'd want to record it, being both a monologue and referential to a famous audio address. I enjoyed the passive unfolding of artificial history couched post-WW2, and was suitably dismayed at the mass killings. A very different lesson than I'd like to take from WW2, but there you go.

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    1. Yeah, the audio won't work for me either, which is very annoying because it did work when I tested it last week, and there's no way to preview it. Back to the drawing board... I included a link for those who would rather just access the mp3 directly.

      That speech always gets me, just because I'm sort of blown away by the audacity of some of the assertions. Hence the references here.

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  2. very resonant with real history and I bet in 100 years the speechmakers will wither be welcoming further winnowing of the human population, or another population expansion which in 100 years further on require culling... An so the world spins on blindly

    marc nash

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    1. I expect you're right -- and I love the phrase "and so the world spins on blindly".

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  3. That is very dark, but perhaps made moreso by the fact it's all too plausible!

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    1. Yeah -- the 150 million comes from some books I've been reading about sustainable living. I don't know where the number comes from originally, but several sources have used it. I grabbed a calculator and converted it to a percentage one day, and... yikes.

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  4. A brave new world, but at such a cost.

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  5. Onward, you survivors… the problem is, that speech could be made with or without a conscious decision to cull back to a sustainable level. Inaction is also a decision, etc. Nice stretch, although I'd file it under "scifi" and that's your forte anyway. ;-)

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    1. You mean 'cos there's no genre selected on the Friday Flash collector? That was just me hitting "submit" too soon. I think it's SF as well.

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  6. This feels far too true. So um, well done. I'm a bit depressed now though!

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