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Fragments of a Rose: An AI-infused audio narrative

Explore 'Fragments of a Rose': an AI-audio narrative delving into humanity's essence amidst AI's rise. A haunting 10-min journey into a possible future.

In "Fragments of a Rose," a holographic family—two adults and two children—shine in golden light, standing in a park, as AI projections of past human life.
In "Fragments of a Rose," a holographic family—two adults and two children—shine in golden light, standing in a park, as AI projections of past human life.

Fragments of a Rose” is not merely an audio narrative; it is a compelling exploration at the crossroads of advanced technology and deep-seated human emotions. Inspired by Ray Kurzweil’s profound assertion that “Artificial Intelligence will reach human levels by around 2029,” this project is a 10-minute audio novel set in a dystopian future where AI’s omnipresence challenges the very fabric of human existence.

The genesis of the idea:

The concept for “Fragments of a Rose” germinated from a vision of a future dominated by artificial intelligence, posing profound philosophical queries about the role of humanity in an AI-centric world. This narrative springs from the contemplation of a future where human capabilities are eclipsed by AI advancements, creating a landscape ripe for exploring the deep-rooted essence of human nature.

Collaborative story development:

In constructing this narrative, I joined forces with ChatGPT, an AI program, to weave the storyline. This partnership yielded captivating characters and pivotal plot elements. For instance, the character Caleb embodies the human struggle in a digital, meaning-deprived world. The AI also proposed scenarios highlighting its existential crisis upon absorbing human experiences as mere data. My input honed the story’s dystopian nature, striking a balance between technological marvels and emotional desolation.

Characterization and setting:

The narrative’s depth is enriched through meticulously crafted characters and settings. Caleb, for instance, serves as a mirror for the audience’s reflections on humanity’s relationship with AI. The story’s backdrop – a city symbolizing technological order yet emotional void – adds layers to the narrative. Descriptive elements, like the AI companion visualized as a “luminous orb,” augment the immersive experience. This iterative development process, in collaboration with the AI, culminated in a poignant parable.

Innovative narration:

A pivotal aspect of this project was employing Eleven Labs’ voice synthesis AI for narration, aligning perfectly with the story’s thematic core. This artificial voice adds a spectral, profound dimension, drawing listeners into the technological realm of the narrative.

Sound design:

The sonic landscape of “Fragments of a Rose” is as crucial as its narrative. Carefully chosen synth tones and effects craft the dystopian atmosphere. The minimalist sound design – from chilling pads accompanying the AI’s narration to the industrial undercurrents in scenes of technological dominance – ensures that the story remains the focal point.

Kjartan Abel is a sound designer, music composer, and immersive installation artist, known for his explorations at the intersection of technology and creativity. A seasoned museum nerd, AI enthusiast and tech enthusiast, Kjartan adeptly melds digital innovation with traditional media. His artistry extends to tinkering with Raspberry Pi, crafting unique experiences that resonate in today's tech-driven culture, often exploring the dimensions of space and time. With an MFA in Fine Art Media from The Slade School of Fine Art and a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Kingston University, Kjartan’s blog offers a window into his multidisciplinary approach and his journey through the evolving landscape of New Media.

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