Yes, we have seen things like this before, but something about this idea now, or perhaps it’s this execution here, made my job drop.
This is a clever bit of code that creates a beautiful object that creates new powers of pattern recognition that creates an assimilable world.
What Jonathan Feinberg’s program does for us is roughly what academics do when they pick up a book and start with the index.
The first image is from the post I did last week on "how to be a self funding anthropologist."
The second image is from yesterday’s post on transformational identities.
There is a general feeling in some circle, see especially Henry Jenkins and Steven Johnson, that we are getting better at reading popular culture, that our powers of assimilation and pattern recognition are growing apace.
All of us do something like this when we look at the index, table of contents, and browse a couple of pages, and make a determination about whether to buy or not. We have not quite read the book, but we have made it’s acquaintance. Something lodged. Our cloud of ideas has reshaped a little.
There is something about the beauty of these images and their implicit conviction that the form of the idea is a guide to the content of the idea. How does Wordle know? But it does, and it’s knowing aids my knowing. This feels like the beginning of a new order of information architecture and design.
As we get better and smarter, I wonder if Wordle won’t be the future. Can it be long before we send new blog posts, articles and books to Wordle and read the output?
Hats off to Jonathan Feinberg, a senior software engineer at IBM research in Medford, MA and total genius.
Find the Wordle website here.
To an anonymous blogger: hat’s off for the head’s up