Discover more from Or So Ben Thought
Some AI, some not-AI and some going away (aw-AI?)
Ahh, December, the month where all four seasons happen at once.
Poor, confused tree, shooting spring leaves even as its boughs bend under a shock of snow and -5 lows. And now it’s positively balmy!
Here I am talking about the weather; you’ve no time for that. A quick one because (a) some people signed up (Hello!) and (b) I’m heading away on sabbatical for 3 months, which could mean you’ll receive more frequent newsletters or, more likely, even fewer than normal. This is the sixth of 2022 and this — a cultural ramble—was the most popular of the year.
Let’s start with car parks. Bear with me. Thought Den has been helping a museum develop a playful suite of [videos/games/tools] that support teens in thinking critically about climate change and we need more things like this: a car park calculator, showing what else we could do with all the car parks in a given area.
Another tool! I’ve been nibbling at the edges of AI image-creation and this (love a bit of reverse engineering) takes an image and outputs what an AI makes of it. While we’re on the subject, the Bureau of Multiversal Arbitration is a ‘game’ of AI-image generation and sleuthing that unfolded on Discord. Yes, it broke my head.
One more tooly-thing. Live chat with your favourite characters! This beta experiment uses AI to bring real and fictional characters “to life”. I ended up in a heated haggle with Saul Goodman, which was fun until my free credits ran out.
And if you like talking to things, try talking to books. A Google experiment that searches books based on your input. Essentially a jazzed-up, quote-finder for sad Powerpoint slides.
2022 was the year many COVID-conceived immersive projects came to fruition, and what a spread there was. Punchdrunk’s Burnt City and Historic Royal Palace’s Gunpowder Plot were mentioned in previous editions. Galwad of Unboxed was an astonishing feat combining crowdsourced world building, broadcast TV, one-shot takes and live theatre. Modern public service broadcasting at its finest. And in contrast, the expensive but entertaining Frameless, on which I penned some brief thoughts. At the time of writing, no grand predictions for 2023 other than that I’m helping prototype something BIG and you will get occluded sneaky-peeks
Adaptive Podcasting is (maybe?) becoming a thing. File this under ‘content fragmentation’, or ‘Must I really make a TikTok teaser of my painstakingly crafted, super-niche documentary?’ Welcome to multi-platform programming! YouTube thumbnail creation is a 6-person job, apparently. It’s like when VR became a thing, and clients were surprised it cost so much and directors were like, “[Swearword]. Please try designing, lighting, framing and shooting in 360 degrees.”
I absolutely adore this video and have been saving it up for you. Testament to the creative potential of imposing constraints. A moving love story told through the medium of (fake) adverts. Sit back and watch, it’s fabulous storytelling.
While I’m away, the good ship Thought Den will be sailed by Ben and Ben.
Thank you for the replies you send, it’s great to know this micro-community is slowly growing, whilst the network we once loved thrashes like a drunkard being asked to leave the premises.
More links and thinking on play, culture, technology and sustainability in due course!
PS - Stockholm is nailing its e-bike setup. Unbelievably cheap!