RESEARCH
PUBLICATIONS
MEDIA MIND-BLOGGLING

OKANAGAN

 

WELCOME TO THE TEMPORARY WEBSITE OF THE

Indra's Net Project

AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (OKANAGAN)

 



Note: This website is under construction.

TOPICS

This project has been on the back burner for some time but it is gaining momentum, thanks to Workstudy funding and the enthusiasm and dedication of a group of students who are working on it (including Conner Gibbs, Hannah-Marie Thompson, and Josh Cooper). Students who might like to do research related to any of these are welcome to drop me a line at liane.gabora[at]ubc.ca.



INTRODUCTION

Objectives

As our world becomes more complex it offers more avenues for our minds to become complex, which can make self-understanding and emotional regulation more challenging. This research addresses the challenge of overcoming obstacles to mental health and flourishing by rendering psychological and interpersonal issues more tangible, thus more manageable, deploying the power of metaphor. It has three objectives:

 



 

Approach

Complex information can be understood at a glance when provided in a visual form, and accordingly, software exists for visualizing everything from weather to stock market fluctuations. However, the psychological aspects of life are not only directly connected to wellbeing, but intangible and elusive, and therefore in even greater need of visualization tools.

 



 

History of the Metaphor between Light and Cognitive Processes

The metaphor between light and psychological states has been woven into the human psyche since the 'dawn' of civilization. Religious history is replete with accounts of a rarefied light that is felt rather than seen, and seems to burn from within. Inuit shamen called it qaumaneq. Vedanta Hinduists call it Atma. The Tibetan Book of the Dead calls it the clear light of Buddha-nature. According to the Buddhist allegory of Indra's Net (after which this project is named), humanity consists of a web made of threads of light stretching horizontally through space and vertically through time. At every intersection dwells an individual, and in every individual dwells a bead of light. Moreover, the metaphor between psychological states and light permeates our language, as in: ray of hope, creative spark, beam with enthusiasm, moment of illumination, brilliant idea, her face lit up, and show me the light, and a lightbulb is often used to symbolize an idea. Thus, people resonate with this metaphor, and that is what makes it useful for our representational system.

This metaphor lends itself to the creation of an intuitive 'visual language' for representing aspects of our inner lives such as openness, arousal level, meditative states, dishonesty, and repression. In some cases (e.g., focusing attention, reflecting on an idea, flash of insight), the word for the psychological construct has another meaning with respect to the behavior of light, that indicates how it is depicted in this representational system.

 



 
Overview of the Representational System

The representational system has three components. The first is based on optics, the second is based on electromagnetism, and the third is based on quantum mechanics. This document only provides a peek into rudimentary elements of the optics part of the representational system. (If you go to my Publications page and check out the papers on quantum models of cognition they may give you a glimpse into some of the other components). (Note: I am writing a series of fictional stories and a novel based on this representational system. You can meet the characters in the novel here.)

A person's creative life force, chi, or Inner Light (IL) is portrayed as light of a unique spectrum. The mind / ego is portrayed as a spherical vessel consisting of one or more shells that surround the IL (Fig. 1a). Someone with little life force is depicted with low intensity light (Fig. 1b). The IL and vessel constitute a user's avatar. An avatar generates a unique Inner Music (IM) using Shawn Bell's self-organizing NetWorks music generation program, which will translate avatar characteristics into node settings.

Openness. Someone who is aloof or hides their true nature is depicted with an opaque light-reflecting shell that makes it harder to be seen (Fig. 1c). Concentric shells indicate levels of self-protection, e.g., a transition to a more vulnerable state (e.g. with friends) is represented as the dissolution of an opaque outer shell, revealing a more transparent inner shell.

Fig. 1. A sphere of a material with a higher refractive index than air traps and amplifies light (left). A sphere may appear dark because it is dark inside (center), or because its light is obstructed (right).

Arousal level is indicated by IL and IM strength and consistency. High arousal results in erratic flickering IL and energetic IM. Low arousal results in a consistent IL and calm IM.

Thought. A stream of thought is depicted as a beam of light reflecting within the vessel, such that it becomes more focused each time it reflects (Fig. 2). This represents how, as you 'bounce an idea around', view it from different perspectives, or 'reflect' on it, you gain a richer understanding of it. The greater the perceived importance or emotional valence of a thought, that stronger the beam's intensity. The greater the extent to which a thought deviates from the 'here and now', i.e., lies in the realm of imagination, the more diffuse the beam. Rumination is represented as a beam that traces out the same route repeatedly as it reflects off the inner surface of the sphere (attractor state), while creative thought traces out a varying route. Someone else in the thinker's presence might not feel seen because the thinker's attention is directed at their own inner thought process.

Fig. 2. When an incident ray (lower left) reflects off the inner surface of a sphere, it returns into the sphere. Since the surface is concave, it converges (becomes more focused).
Expressed thoughts are depicted as passing through the vessel such that they are detectable by others. Inability to articulate an idea clearly is represented as divergence of diffuse light as it passes out the sphere (Fig. 3). Thoughts can have different spectra and waveforms, with complex thoughts superpositions of simpler waveforms. Users who choose to share their depictions with each other can use these spectral differences to represent different meanings, and develop a shared 'language of light'. Fig. 3. Since the surface of a sphere is concave, a ray of light diverges, or becomes less focused, after passing through a sphere. The more focused it is, the less it diverges.

Absence of thought (i.e., being 'in the moment' or a state of deep meditation) is represented as the absence of a beam of light; the vessel is lit up by the IL only. Being centred is portrayed as the IL coming to a focal point at the centre of the sphere, such that it emanates in every direction without refraction (Fig. 4); thus, the individual comes across in an undistorted, authentic way.

Fig. 4. Fig. 4. When an opaque sphere is perfectly spherical and has no defects, its light comes to a focal point at its centre. Light coming from the center radiates out in all directions with no refraction because wherever it contacts the sphere it is perpendicular to it.

Repression. Defects can take the form of 'bubbles' that represent repressed (possibly traumatic) material. Avoidance of such material is represented as a light beam that cannot penetrate the bubble. Dwelling excessively on such material is represented as a light beam trapped within the bubble.

TO COME:

Indra's Net Visualizer explanations of:
  • When one person does not feel 'seen' by another.
  • When one person intentionally deceives another.
  • When some is deceiving themself.
  • Distinction between rumination and creative thought.
  • Others.

  • References

     



    THE INDRA'S NET VISUALIZER

    Basic Idea

    Capitalizing on the universality of the metaphor between light and insight, the Visual Diary -- or simply, Visualizer -- project, is an interactive digital platform that will provide a systematic way for people to depict and express their interior life and interactions with others using the 'language of light' metaphor. It will enable people to explore and better understand their inner lives by engaging in a form of playful art therapy that requires no artistic skill. Our innovative approach meaningfully integrates psychological attributes and indicators of wellbeing into a single display that allows users to gain self-awareness and explore avenues for self-change.

    The platform will enable people to can explore alternative life paths, or view situations from different perspectives (e.g., from a further removed or more distant perspective, or from the perspective of someone else). By depicting how their lives are unfolding, where their thought patterns originated, and what behavior they lead to, people can make sense of subtle and intangible aspects of their mental lives, and put personal trials in perspective by seeing how they fit into the tapestry of human experience.

    The platform will enable people to can explore alternative life paths, or view situations from different perspectives (e.g., from a further removed or more distant perspective, or from the perspective of someone else). By depicting how their lives are unfolding, where their thought patterns originated, and what behavior they lead to, people can make sense of subtle and intangible aspects of their mental lives, and put personal trials in perspective by seeing how they fit into the tapestry of human experience. Visualizer data will be correlated with behavioral outcomes to determine, for example, determine if certain ways of portraying oneself or others are indicative of excess drug use, or predictive of suicide or violence toward others. This will enable clinicians to take preventative measures on the basis of Visual Diary data, or use it as an assessment tool. In the coming years the software will be built, its effectiveness as a therapeutic tool will be assessed, and its social media possibilities will be explored. I will also determine what are the most productive and ethical ways of collecting and analyzing Visualizer data.

     



     
    Design Document

    This document was put together primarily by Conner Gibbs (research assistant on the project) with help from Sally Hinke and Josh Copper. It outlines the basic strategy for the design and implementation of the Indra's Net Visualizer. Note: all figures are 2D mockups only for the purpose of this design document, and are not indicative of the look of the final 3D model. (See below for elements of the 3D model.)


    Overview

    According to the Buddhist allegory of Indra’s Net, humanity consists of a web made of threads of light stretching horizontally through space and vertically through time. At every intersection dwells an individual, and in every individual dwells a bead of light. This and other light metaphors have been woven into the human psyche since the “dawn” of civilization. It permeates, for one, the English language, evidenced by the phrases: “creative spark,” “beam with enthusiasm,” “moment of illumination,” “brilliant idea,” and “her face lit up.”

    Our first step in the Indra’s Net research program is to develop tools that enable users to visualize, explore, and better understand their inner worlds. The tools are expected to have transformative value as a form of art therapy based on principles of cognitive science that requires no artistic skill, wherein outputs have straightforwardly interpretable meanings. While aiming for scientific accuracy, the tools will educate users primarily through narratives of personal growth. This document describes the first 2D digital prototype which will serve as a testing ground to help fine-tune the development 3D visualizer available as a mobile app and desktop software.

    If successful, users of this basic form of Indra’s Net will find psychosocial processes and problems less elusive, and thus more manageable, by deploying the power of visualization, and better understand their capacity for psychosocial growth. The prototype will include a brief tutorial that teaches users the basic mechanics of the game and what parts of the psychosocial self they represent. It will primarily feature a visualizer mode that allows users to see, through aspects of the HEXACO personality test, how past, present, and/or desired future versions of themselves appear and operate in our virtual world.



    Core Elements

    The vessel represents layers of a person’s mind and psyche, a vessel containing a person’s Inner Light (IL), or inner life force. This is the user’s avatar that they can customize in different ways, including the colour of the layers and the Inner Light within, and different animations/shapes for different types of thoughts and interactions that originate inside the vessel. The components of the vessel are:



    Editor Mode

    Editor mode is the first of two modes of the visualizer where the user can customize and fine-tune their vessel, mental representations of others, and others’ vessels. Each tab is explained in detail below.

     


    Mental Representations Tab

    Mental Representations of others depict the demeanour and interaction style the user adopts around people in their lives and the perceptions the user has of them. The mental representation appears automatically inside the Inner Layer when the player/person in question is present, and can be brought up by the player manually when he or she wants to reflect on their relationship with the other person in solo thought. This way, different mental representations are impermanent and will be inserted or removed depending on the user’s present interpersonal context. They would be saved in the Mental Representations menu with names such as “Family,” “Dad,” “Mom,” “Boss,” “Best Friend,” “Ex-Girlfriend/Boyfriend,” “Coworkers,” etc. To add mental representations, the user must fill out a short form of the HEXACO-PI-R Observer Report, which determines the initial shape of the representation. Mental representations modulate the shape of the outer and inner layers depending on its own smoothness and thickness, so that the layers conform to the shape of the mental representation when one is present. The qualities of a mental representation are saved when they are removed, and will appear as saved the next time the layer is called up, when it can be again be modified in response to the present interaction or thought process. After a mental representation is removed, the layers will assume the qualities they had before the mental representation was inserted.


    Biofeedback Tab

    Arousal in the visualizer will be measured using tonic EDA, a skin conductance measure that captures arousal over a long time interval (minutes, not seconds). Emotional and mental states will be captured using EEG, a brainwave measure that captures alpha, beta, delta, and theta bands from electrodes over the scalp. The visualizer options will be the same in Editor and Simulator modes so the user can be recording their biofeedback at any time. Here, a sample image from OpenBCI (https://shop.openbci.com/collections/frontpage/products/ultracortex-mark-iv) shows activity levels at electrodes on the Ultracortex Mark IV EEG headset.


    Version Tab

    Part of the visualizer’s purpose is to be able to compare one’s past, present, and possible future selves. Using HEXACO-PI-R Self-report questionnaires, the user will be able to craft a vessel that represents themselves at whatever point in their past or future they choose, and they can take the test to reflect who they used to be or who they would like to be.


    Import Tab

    Here, the user can choose to import their current game vessel, or the vessels of other players. HEXACO and vessel information can perhaps be stored on an online cloud, or can be stored on the user’s device as contact information for their friends in the Indra’s Net Universe.


    HEXACO Tab

    These are the six personality traits used to inform how the player’s personality impacts their experience (their abilities and vessel stats) via a small subset of the HEXACO-PI-R personality inventory taken at the beginning of app use. See http://hexaco.org/scaledescriptions for more details. The user will be able to adjust these traits in Editor mode in real time so that they can visualize how the traits impact their stats and abilities. The bell curve above indicates the 10th, 50th (median), and 90th percentiles from a large male-and-female sample study of Canadian university students conducted by Kibeom Lee and Michael C. Ashton. The HEXACO questionnaires use a one-to-five Likert scale, and the percentile values are different for each trait.

    Honesty-Humility (H): Persons with very high levels of Honesty-Humility avoid manipulating others for personal gain, feel little temptation to break rules, are uninterested in lavish wealth and luxuries, and feel no special entitlement to elevated social status. Conversely, persons on the low end of this spectrum may flatter others to get what they want, are inclined to break rules for personal profit, are motivated by material gain, and feel a strong sense of self-importance.

    Emotionality (E): Persons with very high levels of Emotionality experience fear of physical dangers, experience anxiety in response to life's stresses, feel a need for emotional support from others, and feel empathy and sentimental attachments with others. Conversely, persons on the low end of this spectrum are not deterred by the prospect of physical harm, feel little worry even in stressful situations, have little need to share their concerns with others, and feel emotionally detached from others.

    eXtraversion (X): Persons with very high levels of Extraversion feel positively about themselves, feel confident when leading or addressing groups of people, enjoy social gatherings and interactions, and experience positive feelings of enthusiasm and energy. Conversely, persons on the low end of this spectrum consider themselves unpopular, feel awkward when they are the center of social attention, are indifferent to social activities, and feel less lively and optimistic than others do.

    Agreeableness (A): Persons with very high levels of Agreeableness forgive the wrongs that they suffered, are lenient in judging others, are willing to compromise and cooperate with others, and can easily control their temper. Conversely, persons on the low end of this spectrum hold grudges against those who have harmed them, are rather critical of others' shortcomings, are stubborn in defending their point of view, and feel anger readily in response to mistreatment.

    Conscientiousness (C): Persons with very high levels of Conscientiousness organize their time and their physical surroundings, work in a disciplined way toward their goals, strive for accuracy and perfection in their tasks, and deliberate carefully when making decisions. Conversely, persons on the low end of this spectrum tend to be unconcerned with orderly surroundings or schedules, avoid difficult tasks or challenging goals, are satisfied with work that contains some errors, and make decisions on impulse or with little reflection.

    Openness to Experience (O): Persons with very high levels of Openness to Experience become absorbed in the beauty of art and nature, are inquisitive about various domains of knowledge, use their imagination freely in everyday life, and take an interest in unusual ideas or people. Conversely, persons on the low end of this spectrum are rather unimpressed by most works of art, feel little intellectual curiosity, avoid creative pursuits, and feel little attraction toward ideas that may seem radical or unconventional.


    Help Tab

    Each mode will have a Help tab that makes suggestions to the user when called upon. Here, in Editor mode, the visualizer is recommending the user add more mental representations based on their currently small amount. We will develop AI algorithms to increase accuracy of suggestions to users from a list of our created suggestions. Some suggestions can be verified with a self-report question on the bottom of the box and some could be verified using biofeedback data.



    Simulator Mode

    After customizations are made, the user will need to be able to visualize how their changes impact their thinking and communicating. In Simulator mode, the user can stage scenarios with friends’ vessels he or she has imported, see how their mental representation of their friends impacts their thinking, and understand how their present self thinks and communicates compared to their past and possible future selves. Simulations provide the user with feedback they can return to Editor mode with to make further changes to their experience. Each tab is explained in detail below. 

     


    Mental Representations Tab

    Mental Representations can be called up and swapped out for others in Simulator mode, but must be altered in Editor mode.


    Biofeedback Tab

    Below is a table from a recent grant proposal that indicates how we intend to assess the most important user variables using the aforementioned biofeedback tools.

    Variable (VAR1-5) Biosensor Detection Depiction Assessment
    1. Open / vulnerable vs aloof / protected GSR? Opaque vs transparent shell (user-adjustable) Self-monitoring Scale
    2. Degree of arousal EEG, pulse Degree to which inner light flickers (or is off-center?) Self-monitoring Scale
    3. Thought / rumination / creative honing vs ‘in the moment’ (‘no-mind’) EEG Degree to which inner light coalesces into focused beam Self-monitoring Scale; Creative Mental Synthesis Task
    4. Honesty / authenticity / integrity vs dishonesty / pretension / fragmentation Breathing rate, heart rate* Fragmentation / imperfection in or on shell [tests that measure self-deception, authenticity, genuineness, pretension, or integrity], HEXACO-60
    5. Repression -- Bubble that diverts light [test of repression]

    Ströfer, S., et al. (2015). Deceptive intentions: Can cues to deception be measured before a lie is even stated? PLOS ONE, 10(5), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0125237


    Thought Tab

    The user can generate and project different kinds of thoughts in Simulator mode. The point of origin of a thought is always the center of the Inner Light, which may be more or less centered within the vessel.

    The user can generate either generic or special thought types:

    • Generic: The user chooses from among response categories that are laid out in a radial pattern, like the emotion wheel pictured here and below on the next page. The user can choose the beam’s initial direction (and its initial speed?). Its movement, reflection, and refraction are then determined by the user’s current mental representation, smoothness, thickness, the set transparency, and the physics of the beam interacting with the layers. NOTE: Further work will need to be done to determine the difference thought valences and response categories and arrange them in a radial pattern.
    • Special: The user can choose to generate different special expression characters to initiate and participate in interactions. These items are “unlocked” as the user progresses in the game, and are included in the visualizer so the user can hone their skills with them. Only the ones already unlocked in-game will be available in the visualizer. These include:
    1. Flash of Insight: A vague glow of light (creative idea) that must be pushed to the inner layer and reflected until it is focused (appearing as a narrow beam). Once narrowed, or “honed,” it can be expressed to another player by sending it out of the sphere in their direction.
    2. Ray of Hope: A bright white light that can be sent to another player to comfort them. This costs a lot of stamina to produce and to subsequently increase Transparency, and must be very strong to penetrate the troubled player’s layers. 
    3. Flash of Alarm: A bright, pulsing red light the user can emit in times of distress or trouble (highly emotionally negative). This is a call for help, and if other players can see you emit the flash of alarm, they can come to your side to help you.
    4. Charismal: Attention-attracting sparks the user can emit in situations (can be emotionally positive or negative) in which you want someone else around you to share something with. If other players can see you emit charismals, they can come to your side to be with you.
    5. Lie: A thought that looks no different from most thoughts, but costs more stamina and costs some stability to generate and communicate. Because of the large decrease in The difficulty of successfully lying depends primarily on the user’s Honesty-Humility This is because a lie has to be projected out of the vessel at a minimum of a 45 degree angle from its point of origin, which is very difficult if the user has few, subtle surface defects caused by roughness. Successful lying is also contingent on the user’s Emotionality. The higher he or she is in this trait, the more the cognitive load of deception will weaken the user’s IL stability. Lying also lowers the user’s Cooperation measure.

    Expressing thoughts can be best simulated with a second imported vessel. Then, the user can hone their skills of decreasing or increasing transparency at the right time. Successful direction of thoughts at the imported vessel will increase Achievement and will either increase or decrease Cooperation based on the valence category of the thought. Transparency is discussed in more detail immediately below.


    Stats Tab

            The user’s HEXACO stats, as well as their biofeedback, impact various quantified attributes of their vessel and IL. The various measures are explained below:

    • IL Stamina (Extraversion-influenced): This measure represents how much energy the user has. The IL is a constant source of this, but different actions you take can speed up its restoration or deplete it. An introvert’s stamina will more likely decrease during times with people they are not close to or comfortable with, and will increase with time spent alone. The opposite would occur for an extravert. The IL will become dimmer when stamina is lower.
    • IL Stability (Emotionality-infl’d): This measure represents how strong/vulnerable the IL is. Taking damage and letting in harmful rays from other players will hurt you and temporarily weaken the IL stability, handicap your stamina level, and throw you off-center for a while. Stability will be negatively impacted by high E (users who are more sensitive to negative emotions) and positively impacted by low E (users who are more emotionally stable).
    • IL Centeredness (Arousal-infl’d): how centered it is. Centeredness lets you send thoughts out without refraction as they hit a layer perpendicular to their point of origin. It can be knocked off center by a collision with another player, and takes quiet internal reflection to re-center.
    • Vessel Smoothness (Honesty-Humility-infl’d): Smoothness allows thoughts to be expressed truly, allows reflection to take place effectively, eliminates rumination, and is required to be able to trust. Perfect smoothness means that light will be refracted cleanly out, but surface bulges and dents (more frequent with lower smoothness) bends the light at a sharper angle. Smoothness is set initially by the user’s Honesty-Humility level after taking the HEXACO test. Users high in H are less likely to want to distort the truth.
    • Vessel Thickness (Openness-to-Experience-infl’d): Thicker layers will refract and bend light that doesn’t hit its surface at an angle perpendicular to its point of origin. Thickness is set initially by the user’s Openness to Experience stats. Higher O enables more refraction, which causes thoughts to be interpreted in more unconventional (though less accurate) ways.
    • Cooperation (Agreeableness-infl’d): This measure rewards the user for their cooperation with other players in the game. In the visualizer, its function is lessened, but it can help the user understand how acting antagonistically towards others can negatively affect their relationships with others. Highly agreeable users will have the advantage of a higher Cooperation measure because they are more forgiving, cooperative, and even-tempered with others than less agreeable users.
    • Achievement (Conscientiousness-infl’d): This measure rewards the user for their achievements in the game. In the visualizer, its function is lessened, but it can help the user understand how successful completion of objectives (honing a thought, expressing an opinion, and coming to a distressed vessel’s need) improve the user’s abilities in the Indra’s Net Universe. Highly conscientious users will have the advantage of a higher Achievement measure because they are more task-driven, diligent, and goal-oriented than less conscientious users.

    Transparency Tab

    Transparency adjustments, made by moving sliders, affect how light travels within and through the vessel affect the layer holistically, so that no specific regions can be changed. This means the user will have to learn to time their changes in transparency so that light travels out of their sphere at the right moment. Transparency basically allows thoughts to be expressed, allows players to see and know each other, and makes one vulnerable, but is required to communicate, know, and be known clearly. Higher transparency means less light bounces off a layer and more travels through (which applies both to light entering and exiting a layer).

    Transparency adjustments are made by moving the transparency sliders. Transparency adjustments (A) and their associated costs (C) and probabilities (P) are calculated with the z table of a standard normal distribution. Using this math, an adjustment +-0.5 standard deviations from baseline would cost little IL stamina (.1915 stamina points/second), one at +-1.0 SD would moderately deplete stamina, and ones at +-1.5 and +-2.0 would cost the user heavily. Based on the importance level (which can be quantified) of the interaction being performed, these adjustments may have to be made to a certain degree or for a certain duration. For example, a Flash of Alarm would take more effort to hide than to convey to someone (since it is so bright), so the user would have to exert stamina effort to move Transparency to -1.5 or -2.0 standard deviations in order to hide it from someone, and to at least +1.0 in order to communicate it to someone. These values could change depending on the social context and corresponding mental representation of the person/player the user is with.

    Listening is also handled with transparency adjustments. In order to receive another player’s thought (listen to what they have to say), transparency must be increased for both layers. How high the user increases transparency will determine how fully they receive the thought, as any level of opacity will cause the light to bounce off to some degree, instead of refracting through fully. The accuracy with which the user receives and interprets the other player’s thought is influenced by their vessel’s smoothness and thickness, which both determine the angle of refraction.


    Help Tab

    The Help tab is in part a suggestion tool to advise the user on ways they can improve their reflecting, expressing, and listening skills in Simulator mode, but will not make suggestions on what kind of changes the user should implement back in Editor mode.



    Miscellaneous Mechanics

    Movement: The user can move and rotate their vessel at any time, in any mode, as seen by the yellow-and-white arrows. The user can move closer to or father away from other players they encounter. The closer the user is to the player, the more impact their thoughts and actions will have on each other, for better or worse, but closeness also makes it easier to direct beams at one another because it essentially enlarges the target.



     

    Short Video of 3D Elements

    This video outlines some of the elements that have been implemented in Unity by Josh Cooper (student research assistant). It is under revision, and for now it is best to skip to It was shot and narrated by Conner Gibbs (student research assistant).


    References

     



    RELATED PROJECTS
    The Indra's Net Game

    We have well-developed longer term plans to turn the visualizer into a collaborative game. These plans are not available on this website but contact us if you would like to get involved.

     



     
    The Insight Orb

    Introductory Note: Steve DiPaola and I pitched this idea to the city of Vancouver, back in 2012 or 2013. It got some traction, but at that point in time we could see that it would take more energy to carry it through to completion than we had at the time. (Our vision was that it would be on top of the new (at the time) Emily Carr University building, which was at that point still under construction.)

    The Insight Orb (IO) will be an art installation that uses visualization to transform input from across the city (collected at bus stops or from mobile devices) into signals that collectively portray how people are feeling and thinking. Visual analytics will be used (in the sense that it is a dialogic process of sense-making between humans and machine intelligence facilitated through visualization) to analyze the relationship between IO sensor data and weather data, economic indicators, and so forth, to better understand why the mood of the City is as it is and what factors effect it, and to detect trends over time. Ideally the IO will be viewable from a distance. It will, in a sense, be the soul of the city, a beautiful structure that symbolically unites and expresses the felt experience of all the city’s inhabitants.