Bigger Logo

Do AIs Dream of Bigger Logos?

—No they don’t. A logo bigger than its adequate size hasn’t been spotted since the 2030s.
[Post in Time Capsule (backward)]


Bigger Logo

Meeting my friends at a work center to enjoy some creative chores while they do their own; protein artists, observers, simulation speedrunners, cosmic sociologists, etc. Doing Optic Curator’s tasks — I think that’s how we are called this week, it keeps changing — just feels good, I’m gonna miss it. Probably my favourite career to date before its discontinuation. Luckily I just delivered my paper on Gestalt of the Ultraviolet Spectrum and will shortly be an Exobiology Visual Systems graduate, this one shouldn’t expire soon. Before that… I get a randomised task from my creative inbox.

Seventeen year old teens living in tropical antarctic cities developed during the 2060s —meaning no big data heritage— with a passion for Brazilian Scientific Shōnen fall onto extreme predictability endangering a generational deterministic outbreak, to ensure free will —hence quality data— it is requested a Optic Domain Mod.

Brazilian Science Shōnen Reader

The brief comes from a data cultivation platform, the communicator is the CEO-AI itself —no more human CEOs since the Corporate Wars—, it assigned an Implement-AI which will be feeding from my work in real time, testing it in users —who don’t know they are test users— and creating reports in case I feel it could help me. Hardly any human will overlook the task, at most someone from the Board of Observers could see it since they scrutinise the decisions of the CEO-AI for sanity check.

Empathize.

Going through the brief is great, it’s a learning and entertaining experience. Brief is a safe space, you learn the rules of the world you have to move around. I usually pick a brief in the shape of a sci-fi audio-novel with a background playlist ad hoc which I enjoy while doing some mechanical task like building blocks or doodling. AIs are not great at creating compelling storytelling, but they are amazing at world building and character description, which is what I need to submerge myself into the task, create a perspective and empathise with a person that is not me.

I’m a Scientific Shōnen fan myself —I guess that’s why this task was in my creative inbox— so I virtually attend a Brazilian asynchronous convention to refresh my mind and discuss about the topic with some of my target audience, from who I get a full psychological profile and their Optic Domain specifications. The Babel Fish breaks a few times trying to translate the latest trendy neologisms.

Brazilian Science Shōnen

Define.

With the brief and the mood set, I examine the report from the Research Monitor, which has been analyzing my movements. I play with the data in mind map generators which can quickly figure the opportunity areas and design principles. Time to find some humans in the flesh.

Mind Map

Ideate.

I appoint my friends in a rich sensorial room, most of them have no issue pausing their tasks. After some catch up, jokes and cakes we begin the brainstorming, it’s common practice for all of us, so we all know how it works. Since I have a DallE 9000 implanted I’m in charge of translating the ideas into images. It just happens that the most original ideas are visually more appealing, something to do with fresh neural connections and the image generation.

Rich Sensorial Brainstorming Room

Prototype.

I compare the outcome of our brainstorming with the machine generated, pretty close, I hope the machine also had fun. The direction is to adjust the style of the Shōnens to match their individual cultural background, compensating the lack of big data heritage; while introducing elements of Dadaist Data art in their Optic domain, advertisement, graffiti, strangers fashion, game cinematics, etc.

I visit a VR museum on Dadaist Data art from the 2030s, the Exponentials movements were an amazing time. The museum morphs its rooms and selection of pieces and topics depending on my brain signals. The Implement-AI feeds the art into test users and I get their immediate feedback trend next to the art.

Dadaist Data Art Museum

I start projecting concepts, playing with palettes, creating Neuro-Grotesque font iconography, stabilising spacing gestalts, Proust Madeleine visual triggers, comfort landscapes, etc. I checked the reports of the Implement-AI, it seems like we are on the right path since it detected a 0.0001% of brain activity in the unpredictable rational motivationals compared to the control group. In the following days I will explore other directions and do a couple of iterations, and that will be it…

Optic Domain

I appointed the Implement-AI to send me a report on the following milestone checks, probably in a year’s time, it’s always nice to know when your work has a human impact. And will for sure visit Sao Paulo 3 for next year’s Scientific Shōnen convention.

Sao Paolo 3

—On second thoughts… maybe AIs do want their logo bigger, do want to show the mark of the good deeds they’ve computed so hard and they are just being nice towards our limited human visual perception.
[Post in Time Capsule (forward)]

Images Credit: Craiyon LLC


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Visualizing Exponentials

We Live in Exponential Times, but We Humans are Naturally Lame at Understanding Exponentiality

Abstract:
– Analysis of the visual representations of exponentials.
– Proposals to solve current visualization issues.
– Call to discussion to come up with a better visual representation convention.

“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”

Albert Allen Bartlett, Physics professor

Our big brains brought us the capability to predict the future, and it worked great when our environment was moving on a (rather slow) linear progression, when our ‘food’ moved around the fields from A to B at a constant pace. But many critical aspects of XXI century life move at an exponential rate: human population, computer power, online virality, virus virality, etc.; and we are not trained to predict exponential futures.

Graphs and data visualization have been helping understand complex numerical information for centuries with one of the most powerful human tool, an image.

Scientific Visual Representations

Science has two ways to visually represent exponentials: linear & logarithmic.

Both are accurate, valid and perfectly understandable by people with a scientific background, but it shows some issues when it comes to the mainstream intuition interpretation.

All the Same, All The way

Any section of a linear exponential representation will give you the same trajectory because we tend to escalate the Y axis. The spread of a virus will look similar in a graph of the first 10 days and the first 100 days.

Tendency to Infinite

An exponential curve seems to tend to infinite, but infinite is a rare thing in the real world; actually, most exponential growth or decays are interrupted by some event. It is the lack of a limit reference that makes it feel an endless progression.

Lack of details

A linear graph will only show more details on the high part of the chart.

A logarithmic graph will only show details on the low part of the chart.


Exponentials for the People

Human culture is poor in exponential references. The most relevant ones being:

Legend of Paal Payasam

The Indian Legend of Paal Payasam, in which a reward consisting on doubling the grains of wheat on the squares of a chessboard ends up with an overwhelming amount that surpasses all the amount of wheat grain in the world.

Powers of Ten

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fKBhvDjuy0

The film Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, which zooms out from our ‘human scale’ exponentially to the scale of the entire universe and then zooms in to the scale of an atom.


A Better Visual Approach

To help the lack of natural human skills to understand exponentials it seems relevant to find new ways to visually represent them in a humanly intuitive way.

Nowadays, Infographists develop amazingly creative ways to make abstract data understandable to everyone, but they are mostly individual solutions per each case.

It seems necessary to find a visual system relevant for exponentials, accurate and simple enough to be easily implemented and understood.

As a Graphic Designer myself, I approached this issue and come up with some early concepts that can help better understand exponentials.

While there are out there some examples of exponential visualizations showing its progress as an animation or video –the same way Powers of Ten does or like this example of computing exponential growth– I consider that motion generates more complexity in terms of creation and readability, and we miss the simplicity of a single visual impact. So, while I don’t discard a dynamic solution, I prioritize a static image system.

Layered Landscape

Logarithmic graphs visually remind me of a landscape perspective, where closer objects look bigger and further objects look smaller.

But in logarithmic graphs there’s a disruptively wrong element that kills the perspective, the line. Imagine the line as a path. If we scale the thickness of the line proportionally to the change of scale it matches our ‘perspective language’ and it makes it more comprehensive.

Different visual codes would even make it more equal in terms of data details inside the same chart; for example using escalated circles.

Finite Reference

As mentioned before, despite the impression of a curve to the infinite, exponentials have limits and representing this reality (as far as possible) would help understand where is this curve going.

While a context reference is sometimes used in a graph explanation or in the graph itself, the suggestion is to close down the graph itself where the trajectory seems to continue to infinite.

Work in Progress

Those are very simple approximations to solve the issues above mentioned, not except of issues themselves. I’m personally invested in the topic and will try to learn more about it and find better solutions.


A Call to Discussion

I write this article from a designer perspective and with no scientific background, my purpose is to open a debate for science and design to reach a convention that feels natural for everyone to understand. My approaches are just a kick-start and I’d like to hear the thoughts of other creative brains –either scientific or designer.

I encourage others to explore the topic and I propose the hashtag #VisualizingExponentials (any platform) to follow up on other comments and approaches. I’ll look at putting together a compilation in short time. I’m thrilled to see where this can go.


Related Links

Visual explanation of exponentials: https://setosa.io/ev/exponentiation/ by Victor Powell

An approach to exponential bias applied to SARS-CoV-2 spread case https://towardsdatascience.com/dealing-with-our-systematic-misjudgment-of-covid-19-exponential-growth-3d367c9546d9 by Yannis Kopsinis


Conferencias

Artículo originalmente publicado en http://graffica.info/notas-al-pie-conferencias-toca-reinventarse/
No puedo iniciar mi escrito sin aclarar que soy organizador de la Escola Muuu.
Los diseñadores gráficos tenemos tendencia al asociacionismo, nos gusta reunirnos en lugares públicos con otros de nuestra especie para sumar conocimientos y contactos (a veces ligar). Las excusas son normalmente conferencias, talleres, mesas redondas, exposiciones, entregas de premios, congresos, festivales, semanas de…, etc.
El pasado mes de junio, gracias al Offf 2011, nos preguntábamos qué aporta un evento en el que vas a ver a grandes maestros encima de una tarima dando un discurso (por supuesto el festival ofrecía muchos otros atractivos, pero ese era el principal). Gracias al servicio de streaming del mismo evento, algunos pudimos disfrutar de esas charlas cómodamente desde el sofá de casa. Dada la nula interacción del asistente con el ponente y la incomodidad de la sala, la opción ‘sofá de casa’ gana puntos. Si sumamos que algunos (sólo algunos) ponentes se dedican a enseñar los cromos que ya puedes ver en su web o a repetir charlas, la conferencia pierde atractivo.
“¿Muerte a las conferencias?”
Hay muchas otras cosas que nos gustan del hecho de reunirnos. La conferencia es una excusa, salimos del estudio, nos reencontramos con los amigos, se comenta la jugada y luego llenamos algún bar. Por supuesto, si Sagmeister va al Offf tienes la oportunidad de ir y pedirle en persona que te tatúe algo con un cutter en la piel. Pero la charla en sí, de repente pierde protagonismo.
Un diseñador con suficiente ego, un poco de iluminación y realización puede colgar un vídeo en su web o en su Vimeo mostrando sus dotes de orador y explicando sus proyectos, cosa que sin duda nos gusta e interesa, del mismo modo que nos gusta e interesa Behance. Ahorramos dinero, desplazamientos y si no nos gusta cambiamos de canal. Si les estoy aburriendo pueden ir a ver la charla de Stefan, a sólo un clic y con subtítulos.
Está sucediendo como con la música, tenemos más referentes que nunca y no paran de aparecer nuevos talentos. Esto también permite la democratización de “los de siempre”, en referencia a los ponentes que saltan de festival en festival cual campaña electoral (me informan por el pinganillo que el controvertido tema “los de siempre” será tratado en venideras “Notas al pie”).
Con tanta información e inspiración al alcance, nuestra profesión sólo puede mejorar, incluso la gente que copia, tendrá referentes buenos y copiará cosas bien hechas, por mal que lo hagan siempre llegará un ápice de esa calidad.
“Yo voy a los conciertos por el espectáculo”
No hay que perder de vista los otros factores mencionados antes por los que ir a una conferencia, “el caliu” (la calidez). Las conferencias no están obsoletas, pero puede ir bien reinventarse y potenciar la presencia de los asistentes que escuchan. Tenemos en una sala reunidos a un mega-máster, posiblemente mediático (de “los de siempre” ya saben) y 40 diseñadores de todas las situaciones posibles: estudiantes de ciclos, de grados, postgrados, másters, doctores, becarios, directores de arte, artefinalistas, cabezas de estudio, freelances, presidentes de asociaciones, etc. Y no lo aprovechamos, sólo habla uno, porque se hace difícil participar, por la presión de grupo.
Una de las cosas bonitas que suceden en Escola Muuu (autobombo, ¡vengan vengan!) es que la convivencia, el dormir juntos y lavarse los dientes uno al lado del otro, genera confianza entre asistentes y la gente participa mucho más, interrumpe, critica e insulta si hace falta. De hecho, en alguna ocasión hemos rehusado colgar podcasts de las conferencias por el alto nivel de sinceridad de los ponentes. Es un ambiente que se da fácilmente en un taller o una mesa redonda, pero no en una conferencia. Chill Laus es otro buen ejemplo de interacción ponente-oyente, una mezcla de conferencia y mesa redonda con barra libre de cerveza. Sí, acaban de identificar la clave, cerveza gratis, ir cocido socializa.
“Quiero pasarlo bien y aprender”
Todos queremos, y es un placer escuchar a algunos ponentes. Muchos de nosotros hemos crecido y aprendido gracias a ellos. Sobre todo cuando empiezas, te abre los ojos ver a buenos profesionales, y además se crea red, algo muy importante en nuestra industria.
Con un poco de astucia por parte de los organizadores y un poco de salero por parte de los oyentes podemos generar entre todos una experiencia mucho más enriquecedora. Si al ponente se le da vía libre para dar un discurso pueden pasar dos cosas, que repita alguna charla anterior sabiendo que sólo tiene que mostrar su web y charlar un poco, o que sea una persona comprometida y escriba de cero una ponencia interesante. Para lo segundo hay que pagar, es un trabajo y son unas horas dedicadas a ello. En mi opinión, antes debe cobrar un ponente que un organizador, ya que uno pone el escenario, pero el otro pone la magia. Lo mejor es marcar el tema, señor organizador, ¿por qué le invita? Indique qué le ha motivado a invitarlo y marque un poco el camino, al ponente seguro que le ayuda una guía.
Bien, nos ha quedado una conferencia de pedestal/streaming, sólo falta que el oyente deje de “sólo oír” y se sienta cómodo, activo, que critique, que participe, si se da la oportunidad de un turno de preguntas, que pregunte, aunque sea “¿con qué Pantone se haría un traje?” o si cree que para sobrevivir hay que asociarse o dividirse. Para estar allí, el oyente (seguramente) habrá pagado, puede exigir unos mínimos y sacarle jugo.
El ponente también puede poner de su parte, en primer lugar, comunicándose con el público y poniéndose a su nivel, si es creativo comunicando su trabajo también puede ser creativo comunicando a sus iguales. Si su trabajo trasciende a lo digital -estamos hablando de libros, revistas, carteles, packaging, materia- ¿por qué mostrarlo sólo en pantalla? Traigan unas muestras, a la antigua usanza. Estamos entre diseñadores, todos sabemos que la tele (proyector) engaña y que el resultado final también es importante. Pueden enseñarme que han diseñado un libro de 70x100cm que yo en pantalla veré un A5. Aún recuerdo cuando Multitouch Barcelona convirtió su conferencia en un juego de Space Invaders interactivo que definía a la perfección su filosofía y trabajo.
“¿Y quieres decir que hay para tanto? Son conferencias, no es su trabajo, déjales…”
También es verdad. Bueno, por lo menos lo de la cerveza está bien, ¿no?