Today on Tomorrow: Orchestrating Information in 3D

March 1, 2008


We are stuck in the past, in an antiquated paradigm. We are sipping through a tiny coffee stirring straw while we remain parched. We require a new information processing model for individuals, one with the ability to match the ever increasing levels of available information produced by our world.

We google search, read feeds, watch TV News, browse websites, read and write blogs, store bookmarks to sites, scratch notes onto paper, daydream while commuting, read/write/reply/forward emails, stuff thumbdrives, get managed by planners, cram papers into binders, interact over the phone, IM statements, attend meetings, record meetings, set more meetings, (did I mention meetings?), read & write books, have truly brilliant ponderings that evaporate in an instant before recording, wandering wikis, absorb excel spreadsheets, record/revise/file way word documents, solidify filing cabinets, hear podcasts, watch vodcasts, and so on. And while we do, all too often brilliant innovations vanish before birth due to the lack of the individual’s ability to weave the disparate multi-disciplinary bits of information into a cohesive meaningful construct of knowledge. And not only that, even if and when we do achieve some semblance of a construct of understanding, new information always arrives to erode or eradicate the order.

Information orchestration models and tools of the future will empower individuals to navigate the oceans of information, assimilate useful streams of information, organize these streams into rapidly understood and useful forms, process these forms into useful and timely knowledge. Whatever these models will be, they will undoubtedly utilize more of our bodily senses in an effort to optimize the transaction (improve efficiency of throughput) between the human individual and the tool.

Imagine in the future immersing yourself into your Personal Knowledge Garden, a virtual 3D space containing spacially arranged plants. These plants are repositories of compiled and purposfully sorted information, varying in topic with each different species. Each plant in your garden is of different sizes, shapes, colors, feels, and smells. These differences are not merely cosmetic…the differences represent changes in a certain topic of interest. Grasping one flower, you are instantly exposed to a graphical summary of not the contents, but the changes, the growth of emphasis on one aspect of the topic (i.e. a flurry of information in the world relating to this topic). Further examination of the grown flower petal allows you to see the source information contributions to the plant. A graphical immersive representation of massive amounts of information like this garden would allow humans to utilize their full senses to more efficiently translate massive information into useable knowledge.

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Virtual Graphic used on NBC Nightly News

February 6, 2008

I was surprised last night while viewing NBC Nightly News to hear Brian Williams refer to a new on-screen graphic introducing the next segment as a, “virtual graphic”. The graphic appeared 3 dimensional and moved in real space, tracking with the camera and the walking correspondent. I haven’t been watching the national network news broadcasts lately, so I’m not sure if this is a first, or a growing trend. I wonder if this technology is an offspin of Tobey McElroy’s Georgia Tech Grad project (http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2008/01/georgia-tech-gr.html).