Dave Snowden

Seeing perspectives

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A big thanks to David Williams who has been the guest blogger since 30th August. Wendy Elford from Canberra here. This first blog in the next stint will skip any real detail on personal history but I will say that both my job roles and interests place me at a halfway point between art and science, and I love to see links made between the two. Being a fan of the post-impressionists (my mother was an artist), I very much enjoyed reading David Williams’ last post with the image of Georges Seurat’s ‘The Side Show’. It’s easy to make the connection between the science of the image – the deliberate colour variation and the number of strokes – and the value of the image as art. Seurat was very clear that “They see poetry in what I have done. No. I apply my method, and that is all there is to it.” The trompe de l’oeil is created partly by Seurat’s method and partly by being able to gain a distant perspective, a perspective which SenseMaker™ achieves with narrative.

Moving on from this, perspective shift and patterns are two of my favourite ideas (no doubt shared by many in the Cognitive Edge community) so I thought that I would share examples I’ve been collecting. I’m guessing that the TED talks might be familiar to some of you. One in particular by Blaise Aguera Y Arcas blew me away when I first saw it in 2007. Photosynth can create a composite image in three dimensions from thousands of photos. Even though the technology has now been around for a few years. Photosynth is still impressive and I’ve been looking to see what has come of it. I found several examples, this one just serves to reinforce David Williams’ point about the number of perspectives needed to build the picture.

Here is another snapshot of other forms of data visualisation and sonification. You can spend many hours on the internet finding more examples – it really is entertaining. There should be some interesting developments as these technologies are integrated into new generations of software. Like some of the text analytics tools I’ve found through my research studies (see the next post), it’s best to know how the data is analysed before trusting it, but these tools should at least keep audiences awake during presentations…

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