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."