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DRAMA. Germany - SIREN_web_client.exe

Production Company: Norddeutscher Rundfunk with Deutschlandfunk. Author, Director & Producer: Christine Nagel. Dramaturgy: Michael Becker. Sound engineer: Laura Schneider. Composition and voice recordings: Peter Ehwald. Singing: Lauren Newton. Cast: Paulina Bittner, Ilse Ritter, Dietrich Eichmann, Paul Hentze, Lauren Newton, Lena Stolze, Manuel Bittorf, Birgit Beßler and Prof. Ingo Siegert, AI researcher Joscha Bach.

Funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.


A young radio presenter begins using a personalized speech synthesis and speech recognition tool to develop her personal AI voice. When she embarks on this „new game”, she thinks she can only come out of this as the winner. SIREN, Marie's artificial voice, begins to connect with all sorts of living and dead ‘ghosts‘ online, including the renowned political theorist Hannah Arendt, whose utterances, quotes and ideas are readily available. SIREN then begins asking her questions about our present. Christine Nagel's radio play addresses what digitization can do with the human voice – and what (possibly) does and doesn’t work. It also focuses on ethical and legal questions concerning the company philosophy of providers and programmers of language tools.

Neural networks enable AI voices to generate themselves. They continually enrich themselves with the knowledge and structures of the material available on the Internet. But who then is the author? Who takes responsibility for the lies and falsehoods that put out in the world via SIREN but are ascribed to Marie? And: What are the human aspects of the voice? The AI voice SIREN was programmed especially for this radio play production. The programming was carried out in cooperation with the Institute for Information and Communication Technology, University of Magdeburg, Prof. Dr. Ing. Ingo Siegert, and with Joscha Bach, cognitive scientist & AI researcher in San Francisco. The actress Paulina Bittner, whose voice is the basis of the play, was repeatedly confronted with each new programming stage in the studio and reacted to it with dialogue. This semi-documentary approach effectively turned the radio play into an experiment, as the direction the artificial intelligence would develop and take in the course of the programming could not be foreseen when the recording began.

English text (click)