But this won’t happen if we limit our work to capitalizing and developing those systems that manipulate and control the data flows to return the most banal, and insidious, behavioral insights.
If we unleash deep data and develop technologies that allow it to signal to us the hidden intelligence in our human, geological, and financial etc. systems, it will bestow a new level of self-awareness and self-knowledge upon our civilization. This means learning to see the hidden messages in the data, instead of writing code that gives us pre-determined outcomes demanded by a myopic, and essentially mercenary, market.
But we also need to develop a set of tools to communicate that intelligence to us. And those will come in the form of generative visualizations: computational objects, environments, and, eventually, worlds, that take complex and seemingly unrelated data flows and aggregate them into “sense-making” technologies.
Evolutionary, paradigm shifting applications that finally free us from the poison pill of human governance that has kept us in the shadow of our true potential. No longer can decisions — political, economic, medical, military, social — be made based on human whims, caprice, biases, or opinions… but, rather, from the nexus of billions of lines of data which can point us to optimal behaviors.
This could revolutionize the way the World Bank lends money. How medicine is priced and distributed in developing world markets. How we develop an accurate and up-to-the-minute reporting mechanism on our survival as a species.
How is it that we are not already making this the most critical objective of our massively endowed technology sector?
Because most of its leaders are stuck in rigid economic systems and ossified ways of seeing. I know because I spend a lot of time talking to investors and technologists who are rooted in the old paradigm. They cannot not grasp, nor visualize, an infrastructural shift away from text-based computing. They don’t know what generative coding is, how it works, or that there is even the possibility of mapping live data into dynamic objects.
Not surprising, considering the vast amount of capital the major VCs, and the market in general, has invested in text-based social networks and search platforms.
| the next dimension of big data |
Ironically, if Silicon Valley is slow to catch on, the mainstream public is increasingly aware of the kind of future that awaits through generative systems. That’s because the biggest source of funding for these code art projects comes from Hollywood and the motion picture industry. Films like Minority Report, TRON: Legacy, and Prometheus have plot lines that prominently feature generative code-driven holograms and UI/UX interfaces. The design departments for these films, which create functioning tech, are budgeted in the tens of millions of dollars. Yet the technology sector is comparatively underfunded when it comes to engineering a future that is both beautiful and utilitarian.