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  • Over the past 10 years,

  • I've been researching the way people organize and visualize information.

  • And I've noticed an interesting shift.

  • For a long period of time,

  • we believed in a natural ranking order in the world around us,

  • also known as the great chain of being, or "Scala naturae" in Latin,

  • a top-down structure that normally starts with God at the very top,

  • followed by angels, noblemen,

  • common people, animals, and so on.

  • This idea was actually based on Aristotle's ontology,

  • which classified all things known to man in a set of opposing categories,

  • like the ones you see behind me.

  • But over time, interestingly enough,

  • this concept adopted the branching schema of a tree

  • in what became known as the Porphyrian tree,

  • also considered to be the oldest tree of knowledge.

  • The branching scheme of the tree was, in fact,

  • such a powerful metaphor for conveying information

  • that it became, over time, an important communication tool

  • to map a variety of systems of knowledge.

  • We can see trees being used to map morality,

  • with the popular tree of virtues and tree of vices,

  • as you can see here, with these beautiful illustrations from medieval Europe.

  • We can see trees being used to map consanguinity,

  • the various blood ties between people.

  • We can also see trees being used to map genealogy,

  • perhaps the most famous archetype of the tree diagram.

  • I think many of you in the audience have probably seen family trees.

  • Many of you probably even have your own family trees drawn in such a way.

  • We can see trees even mapping systems of law,

  • the various decrees and rulings of kings and rulers.

  • And finally, of course, also a very popular scientific metaphor,

  • we can see trees being used to map all species known to man.

  • And trees ultimately became such a powerful visual metaphor

  • because in many ways, they really embody this human desire

  • for order, for balance, for unity, for symmetry.

  • However, nowadays we are really facing new complex, intricate challenges

  • that cannot be understood by simply employing a simple tree diagram.

  • And a new metaphor is currently emerging,

  • and it's currently replacing the tree

  • in visualizing various systems of knowledge.

  • It's really providing us with a new lens to understand the world around us.

  • And this new metaphor is the metaphor of the network.

  • And we can see this shift from trees into networks

  • in many domains of knowledge.

  • We can see this shift in the way we try to understand the brain.

  • While before, we used to think of the brain

  • as a modular, centralized organ,

  • where a given area was responsible for a set of actions and behaviors,

  • the more we know about the brain,

  • the more we think of it as a large music symphony,

  • played by hundreds and thousands of instruments.

  • This is a beautiful snapshot created by the Blue Brain Project,

  • where you can see 10,000 neurons and 30 million connections.

  • And this is only mapping 10 percent of a mammalian neocortex.

  • We can also see this shift in the way we try to conceive of human knowledge.

  • These are some remarkable trees of knowledge, or trees of science,

  • by Spanish scholar Ramon Llull.

  • And Llull was actually the precursor,

  • the very first one who created the metaphor of science as a tree,

  • a metaphor we use every single day, when we say,

  • "Biology is a branch of science,"

  • when we say,

  • "Genetics is a branch of science."

  • But perhaps the most beautiful of all trees of knowledge, at least for me,

  • was created for the French encyclopedia by Diderot and d'Alembert in 1751.

  • This was really the bastion of the French Enlightenment,

  • and this gorgeous illustration was featured as a table of contents

  • for the encyclopedia.

  • And it actually maps out all domains of knowledge

  • as separate branches of a tree.

  • But knowledge is much more intricate than this.

  • These are two maps of Wikipedia showing the inter-linkage of articles --

  • related to history on the left, and mathematics on the right.

  • And I think by looking at these maps

  • and other ones that have been created of Wikipedia --

  • arguably one of the largest rhizomatic structures ever created by man --

  • we can really understand how human knowledge is much more intricate

  • and interdependent, just like a network.

  • We can also see this interesting shift

  • in the way we map social ties between people.

  • This is the typical organization chart.

  • I'm assuming many of you have seen a similar chart as well,

  • in your own corporations, or others.

  • It's a top-down structure

  • that normally starts with the CEO at the very top,

  • and where you can drill down all the way to the individual workmen on the bottom.

  • But humans sometimes are, well, actually, all humans are unique in their own way,

  • and sometimes you really don't play well under this really rigid structure.

  • I think the Internet is really changing this paradigm quite a lot.

  • This is a fantastic map of online social collaboration

  • between Perl developers.

  • Perl is a famous programming language,

  • and here, you can see how different programmers

  • are actually exchanging files, and working together on a given project.

  • And here, you can notice that this is a completely decentralized process --

  • there's no leader in this organization,

  • it's a network.

  • We can also see this interesting shift when we look at terrorism.

  • One of the main challenges of understanding terrorism nowadays

  • is that we are dealing with decentralized, independent cells,

  • where there's no leader leading the whole process.

  • And here, you can actually see how visualization is being used.

  • The diagram that you see behind me

  • shows all the terrorists involved in the Madrid attack in 2004.

  • And what they did here is, they actually segmented the network

  • into three different years,

  • represented by the vertical layers that you see behind me.

  • And the blue lines tie together

  • the people that were present in that network year after year.

  • So even though there's no leader per se,

  • these people are probably the most influential ones in that organization,

  • the ones that know more about the past,

  • and the future plans and goals of this particular cell.

  • We can also see this shift from trees into networks

  • in the way we classify and organize species.

  • The image on the right is the only illustration

  • that Darwin included in "The Origin of Species,"

  • which Darwin called the "Tree of Life."

  • There's actually a letter from Darwin to the publisher,

  • expanding on the importance of this particular diagram.

  • It was critical for Darwin's theory of evolution.

  • But recently, scientists discovered that overlaying this tree of life

  • is a dense network of bacteria,

  • and these bacteria are actually tying together

  • species that were completely separated before,

  • to what scientists are now calling not the tree of life,

  • but the web of life, the network of life.

  • And finally, we can really see this shift, again,

  • when we look at ecosystems around our planet.

  • No more do we have these simplified predator-versus-prey diagrams

  • we have all learned at school.

  • This is a much more accurate depiction of an ecosystem.

  • This is a diagram created by Professor David Lavigne,

  • mapping close to 100 species that interact with the codfish

  • off the coast of Newfoundland in Canada.

  • And I think here, we can really understand the intricate and interdependent nature

  • of most ecosystems that abound on our planet.

  • But even though recent, this metaphor of the network,

  • is really already adopting various shapes and forms,

  • and it's almost becoming a growing visual taxonomy.

  • It's almost becoming the syntax of a new language.

  • And this is one aspect that truly fascinates me.

  • And these are actually 15 different typologies

  • I've been collecting over time,

  • and it really shows the immense visual diversity of this new metaphor.

  • And here is an example.

  • On the very top band, you have radial convergence,

  • a visualization model that has become really popular over the last five years.

  • At the top left, the very first project is a gene network,

  • followed by a network of IP addresses -- machines, servers --

  • followed by a network of Facebook friends.

  • You probably couldn't find more disparate topics,

  • yet they are using the same metaphor, the same visual model,

  • to map the never-ending complexities of its own subject.

  • And here are a few more examples of the many I've been collecting,

  • of this growing visual taxonomy of networks.

  • But networks are not just a scientific metaphor.

  • As designers, researchers, and scientists try to map a variety of complex systems,

  • they are in many ways influencing traditional art fields,

  • like painting and sculpture,

  • and influencing many different artists.

  • And perhaps because networks have this huge aesthetical force to them --

  • they're immensely gorgeous --

  • they are really becoming a cultural meme,

  • and driving a new art movement, which I've called "networkism."

  • And we can see this influence in this movement in a variety of ways.

  • This is just one of many examples,

  • where you can see this influence from science into art.

  • The example on your left side is IP-mapping,

  • a computer-generated map of IP addresses; again -- servers, machines.

  • And on your right side,

  • you have "Transient Structures and Unstable Networks" by Sharon Molloy,

  • using oil and enamel on canvas.

  • And here are a few more paintings by Sharon Molloy,

  • some gorgeous, intricate paintings.

  • And here's another example of that interesting cross-pollination

  • between science and art.

  • On your left side, you have "Operation Smile."

  • It is a computer-generated map of a social network.

  • And on your right side, you have "Field 4," by Emma McNally,

  • using only graphite on paper.

  • Emma McNally is one of the main leaders of this movement,

  • and she creates these striking, imaginary landscapes,

  • where you can really notice the influence from traditional network visualization.

  • But networkism doesn't happen only in two dimensions.

  • This is perhaps one of my favorite projects

  • of this new movement.

  • And I think the title really says it all -- it's called:

  • "Galaxies Forming Along Filaments,

  • Like Droplets Along the Strands of a Spider's Web."

  • And I just find this particular project to be immensely powerful.

  • It was created by Tomás Saraceno,

  • and he occupies these large spaces,

  • creates these massive installations using only elastic ropes.

  • As you actually navigate that space and bounce along those elastic ropes,

  • the entire network kind of shifts, almost like a real organic network would.

  • And here's yet another example

  • of networkism taken to a whole different level.

  • This was created by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota

  • in a piece called "In Silence."

  • And Chiharu, like Tomás Saraceno, fills these rooms with this dense network,

  • this dense web of elastic ropes and black wool and thread,

  • sometimes including objects, as you can see here,

  • sometimes even including people, in many of her installations.

  • But networks are also not just a new trend,

  • and it's too easy for us to dismiss it as such.

  • Networks really embody notions of decentralization,

  • of interconnectedness, of interdependence.

  • And this new way of thinking is critical

  • for us to solve many of the complex problems we are facing nowadays,

  • from decoding the human brain,

  • to understanding the vast universe out there.

  • On your left side, you have a snapshot of a neural network of a mouse --

  • very similar to our own at this particular scale.

  • And on your right side, you have the Millennium Simulation.

  • It was the largest and most realistic simulation

  • of the growth of cosmic structure.

  • It was able to recreate the history of 20 million galaxies

  • in approximately 25 terabytes of output.

  • And coincidentally or not,

  • I just find this particular comparison

  • between the smallest scale of knowledge -- the brain --

  • and the largest scale of knowledge -- the universe itself --

  • to be really quite striking and fascinating.

  • Because as Bruce Mau once said,

  • "When everything is connected to everything else,

  • for better or for worse, everything matters."

  • Thank you so much.

  • (Applause)

Over the past 10 years,

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TED】人類知識的視覺史|曼努埃爾-利馬|TED講座 (【TED】A Visual History of Human Knowledge | Manuel Lima | TED Talks)

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    Max Lin 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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