Scott Murray

Whatever Happened to "Augmenting Human Intellect"?

Exploring the fundamental role of data visualization in a palatable form to human perception

Date: This event took place live on November 20 2013

Presented by: Scott Murray

Duration: Approximately 60 minutes.

Cost: Free

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Join us for an interactive webcast presented by Scott Murray where we explore the fundamental role of data visualization is to express information in a form more palatable to human perception than rows and columns of raw values. We are visual creatures, and visualization is a necessary tool for our brains to acquire, explore, analyze, and reason with data. Douglas Engelbart's recent passing has me reflecting on why we do what we do, and whether or not we are fulfilling Engelbart's goal of "augmenting human intellect." On one hand, visualization is a technology perfectly suited to support this goal. Yet, too often, we see graphics whose inaccuracy and oversimplification is fundamentally misleading, effectively dumbing us down — the opposite of what we need. This is not just a gripe about poorly designed visuals; this is an opportunity to reevaluate the values that inform our work. How can we reframe and refocus our work on the worthy goals of visionaries like Engelbart and Vannevar Bush? With some adjustments, visualization can play a less trivial, more fundamental role within the larger domains of technology and society.

About Scott Murray

Scott Murray is a code artist who writes software to create data visualizations and other interactive phenomena. His work incorporates elements of interaction design, systems design, and generative art. Scott is an Assistant Professor of Design at the University of San Francisco, where he teaches data visualization and interaction design. He is a contributor to Processing, and he teaches workshops on creative coding. Scott earned an A.B. from Vassar College and an M.F.A. from the Dynamic Media Institute at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His work can be seen at

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