In making this album I was wary about falling into using sci-fi tropes. However, it’s a fine line between stupid and clever (as Spinal Tap put it) and a fine line between a trope and a shared cultural reference point.
I gave in to the shared cultural reference thing about glitching. At various points in the album I wanted to show the AI failing to function properly and glitching. It’s a trope to use voice stutters to indicate that, but a good one. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
But I digress…
In musing on things in the back of my mind, I started to notice my own ‘glitching’. I suspect it’s stuff we do all the time, but smooth out with our mental processes. Little background thoughts, rapidly jumping between things, became noticeable to me out of the corner of my eye (or corner of my mind, if it has corners).
As I’ve no actual idea what the AI would be thinking if it glitched, my own fractured thoughts seemed like a good enough way of conveying this.
So in ‘300 seconds’ we have an ingenue AI making childish mistakes, but they are in some ways my mistakes. Doesn’t necessarily make any sense, but it wouldn’t, would it?
One of the things I wanted to explore on this album was writing orchestral arrangements, as I’ve done on this song. I’ve worked with some talented people over the years, and picked up little bits and pieces here and there, hopefully they’ve proved useful.
300 seconds miscellany:
- I know that Large Language Models such as Chat GPT actually run on huge numbers of GPUs. For comparison I looked up how fast a super-computer runs, and came up with 100 petaflops per second. “30,000 petaflops or so” (in the lyrics) is another way of saying 300 seconds.
- For no reason other than it amused me, this song is exactly 300 seconds long.