We’re rapidly erasing the boundary between the make-believe worlds of video games and the real world of sensors and visualisation. Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2020 allows you to fly over the whole world – with all the cities and countryside presented in detail – just as they are in reality. Is it now possible to “fly” through everything we know about the world – from ground level, up to the heavens?
The boundaries between simulation and visualisation become very blurry when we head up into Near Earth Orbit – that’s everything below about 1000km above Earth’s surface.
Andreas Antoniades’ firm Saber Astronautics uses a mixture of observation, simulation, and visualisation to create a ‘mission control’ that looks, well, a lot like it would if you were in space (click “Login as Guest” below to see it for yourself):
Once again, big thanks to my nephew Andy for sharing with us his experiences of flying a Cessna 152 – both in simulation and for real!
The following year, working with artist John Tonkin, they created ‘Bluestates‘ – using Bluetooth contact tracking to generate ‘social graphs’ – maps of who associated with who – for ISEA 2006 in San Jose California. It got a fair bit of attention at the time, including a review in The New YorkTimes. Here’s a short movie of how John Tonkin visualised the contact tracking data Mark Pesce gathered:
We see superheroes on cinema screens – but what about our technological superpowers? Naming these new powers helps to understand them, and the amazing Aaron Z. Lewis has given us a pantheon of seven ‘new gods‘ – that we seem to believe in. Now that we know the shape of these new ‘gods’, does that mean we’re not as beholden to them?
This was all sparked by Aaron’s original essay “Metaphors We Believe By: The pantheon of 2019” – it’s a great read, find it here.
In thirty years the Web has grown into the foundation of civilisation – but can we make the Web more useful, more private – and more human? That’s a question that Sean White, Chief Research & Development Officer at browser-maker Mozilla continually considers. The answer is evolving.
Some of the answer lies with new Web technologies, like Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s Solid project. And plenty of the answer lies within ourselves, as our use of the Web evolves.
Is our transportation future a sleek clean sci-fi vision or a Max Max redux with added robotics? Could it be hell on wheels – or heaven on earth? Mark, Sally and Drew each explore their own versions of the perfect – and less-than-perfect automotive worlds to come.
Social media has been weaponised and is now used against nations as a tool of war – invisible, subtle, and dangerously destabilising. John Robb has spent over a decade studying how these new networks represent the new powers – and the new engines of war.