TEDx Music: A Network Visualization

Amy Robinson TEDxIstanbul TEDx Music

Over the years, TEDx Music has grown from a small collection of a few songs to an exquisitely diverse curated catalog of over 600 tracks on SoundCloud. Getting music out there is no longer enough – it’s time to build software that facilitates discovery.

Drawing inspiration from network data visualization and systems ecology, we created an interactive map of a world of innovative music. In the talk below from TEDxIstanbul, I show the TEDx Music Map for the first time. We hope to release this soon so anyone can play with it.

What’s next for TEDx Music

TEDx Music releases new tracks every Tuesday. Once we refine the interactive visualization and open it to the public, we’ll begin creating a pipeline that automatically analyzes each new song using Spotify’s Echonest API, populating the viz with new nodes for each performance released. In the future, you’ll be able to see exactly where each new track sits relative to a global catalog.

We’re also working to bring a map-based visualization to life, enabling navigation by location. Imagine zooming into Japan and being able to hear all the music that has been performed in Tokyo.

As for artists, we plan to create a TEDx Musician Map, enabling exploration of the creative minds behind the music. In much in the same way that TED convenes people who share a love of ideas, it’s my hope that TEDx Music becomes a platform for we who love music.

Finally, in the interest of going beyond cool and into something scientific, I’m organizing collaborative research with Berklee College of Music to evolve this music dataviz prototype into a next generation tool through which we burst the filter bubble of music.

Think about it: how do you search for something if you don’t know it exists? This problem plagues the music industry. People discover by blogs, word of mouth, and radio station autoplay recommendations. But what if there was a better way? A way where you actively control your trajectory, where the unknown manifests right before your eyes? That’s where we’re heading. The future may well be an ode to awesome.

TEDx Music Network Visualization, TEDx, TEDx Music

TEDx Music Network Viz, Alpha Version

Huge thanks to TED, TEDx, Zach Zimbler, Eric Berlow, Elena Crescia, Gaurav Gupta, Andrew Karnavas, and Tim Gnass. Also thank you to everyone else who has helped with TEDx Music over the years. And thank YOU for listening. The best is yet to come! Here’s to creating the future we imagine :)

Want to get involved in TEDx Music? Email me amy at tedxmusicproject dot com.

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Build

lava maybe, lava exploding

I love to create, to build things. Especially things bringing people together. Here are a couple ideas I’ve been working on lately. If you think any of them are interesting, connect with me. They’re all in active brainstorm mode.

Rebuilt TEDx Music Project and have been thinking a lot about how to structure visualizations of its hundreds of tracks. So far we’re leaning toward geotag for a world map of TEDx music. There’s also navigation, which might be made interestingly interactive by making a network map of communities of songs with similar attributes, such as genre, instrument or danceability. Installation on a big touchscreen. Ideas and collabs welcome.

Redoing the TEDx music site reminded me of Project HAO and that now I can actually probably set it up pretty easily. So I will. Looks like we can send a hammock + stand to US planetariums for under 200 bucks through Amazon, so I’ll probably set it up where 20 people each donate $10 and when the 20th name comes in *boom* we sent a hammock to a planetarium and are on our way towards hooking up the next. Extra funds can be used in the future to pay for international shipping once all the US planetariums have hammocks.

I’m also gearing up to do a posture measurement with Vicon motion capture software with the wonderful biomechatronics guys at MIT Media Lab. I’m going to wear ~100 sensors, do a sequences of moves and be tracked in 360 degrees at .2 mm precision. The idea is to be strategic in stretches. If one could identify asymmetries, torsions or other malalignments in posture, one could theoretically choose stretches to correct them. I’m going to test that out.

Learning about neurotech has been mind-blowing. I’m attending a pilot class at MIT this semester about how technology is catapulting neuroscience. Along the way we’ve gone from measuring genetic changes in cells to imaging an entire brain. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing professors and graduate students; seeing and using the tools. We’re currently half way through a Scientific American blog series from EyeWire that shares the experience with the world. Excited to write up the rest. So far it’s been fodder for fascinating conversations.

I titled this post “Build” because I suddenly felt compelled to share things I am building. Side projects you have here, mostly. Love a good side project. Love to learn of yours! And I was serious about that first paragraph.

@amyleerobinson

PS: recent additions to my Epic Pics folder:

capybara and monkeys hehe

filename “capybara and monkeys hehe”

Crops in Kansas

Crops in Kansas, formerly my background image

highlands in Iceland

highlands in Iceland

my notebook :), amy robinson, amy notebook, notebook, moleskin, notebook in woods

my notebook :)

do epic shit

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 8.49.59 PM

Maps of Ideas

mapping ideas quid neuroscience arxiv snapshot, mapping ideas, neuroscience, arxiv, quid, amy robinson, map ideas, graph ideas, mapping ideas

A universe.

We live in one. Your mind is one.

Human beings, besides generating things like science and technology and businesses, generate ideas. Thoughts. Sometimes thoughts lead to action. Life happens or rather is made by he who lives it.

I’ve been pondering: how could we explore being human from a perspective of ideas over time? Say, my personal ideas over time. A dynamic network, the questions, concepts and values that fuel who I am. Creativities and habits; discoveries and experiences.

If you were to document things you think are important or things you are curious about or wonder, what might you have after a month? A year? Eight years?

That’s how long I’ve been doing this. I’ve amassed 30 Moleskine notebooks, 3.5G or 756 voice memos, 6,000 Tweets and gigs of autotune on t-payne (don’t judge).

How could you map ideas? Here was my first attempt from 2012, delivered for Quantified Self at Stanford.

I spent hundreds of hours figuring out how to map 6 months of ideas in the form of emails to self. A collaboration built through an amazing community of Gephi devs.

Others are making strides in this arena. Watch the below TEDTalk about mapping ideas from the top 25% of TEDxTalks. From transcripts to a network you can interact with and explore. Beautiful. And insightful. How could these ideas apply to the ideas of an individual over time?

How do the things I’m interested in evolve? What new things have I learned and how have they made their way into the projects I create or things I do or learn in the future? When do ideas change how I think? After I learn something that changes how I think, it can be difficult if not impossible to retain how I thought before I realized it. Particularly over years. These deep ideas fascinate me.

So I’m exploring them. Publicly. And I’m going to make all of my personal data public someday. Still working up the nerve to put up my browsing history. The short term will see transcripts of voice memos and handwriting. We may need to create new language processing algorithms for stream of consciousness.

Publicly. If you think this is interesting, contact me and think about it with me. I’m using Quid and learning principles of graph theory, community detection, python, JSON, dealing with audio transcription, and most interestingly figuring out how to build a network/networks out of ideas.

Challenging. Exciting. Neural avalanche inducing.

Possibilism and the Power of TEDx

Originally written for the TEDx Blog:

TED is an epicenter of the extraordinary and TEDx is one of many examples why.  This is how organizing a TEDx changed my life.  This is the power of ideas worth spreading.

To quote Hans Rosling, “I am a possibilist.”  Endless innovations are possible.  I am inspired by the notion that great discoveries coalesce from within a dense matrix of curiosity, collaboration, determination and inspiration.

TED brings fourth the subtle intricacies of an individual.  The details of one’s passion and the content that harmonizes with wonder are fascinating to explore, both in one’s self and in others.

A leaping sense of curiosity emerges when life is enhanced by TED-like content.  One remembers to regularly experience ‘Wow!’  Prolonged exposure to TED results in a deep and peculiar effect:  curiosity evolves.

Ideas worth spreading feed back into their recipient and yield an amended manner of thought.  Open, innocent explorations of our beautiful universe and its inhabitants become a regular aspect of life and business.  ‘TEDster’ is a 21st century character attribute of the purveyors of tomorrow’s next big ideas.

This revolution of interaction may help explain why thousands of people around the world spend tens of thousands of hours helping each other put together TEDx events.  Themes like Play BigMind Wide OpenRelentless Curiosity, and Perspectives on Innovation echo the TED brand (see Rediscovery of Wonder) while leaving room for independent expression.

Fellow TEDx hosts are, in my opinion and much like TED itself, legendary in the degree to which they determinedly create a medium for the spread of curiosity and inspiration.  The TEDx network is basically a propagation of TED; a secondary support structure for the dissemination of ideas.  TEDx organizers provide one another with resources, answers, optimism, suggestions, and instant friendships strengthened by a commonality that transcends traditional boundaries.  Whether local (the teams atTEDxAtlanta and TEDxNashville are both friends and mentors) or at a distance (fromTEDxDubai to TEDxMidAtlantic toTEDxLondon) it has been my delightful experience that TEDx organizers diligently uphold TED’s virtue and purpose, together learning from setbacks and sharing successes.

Over the many months involved in planning a TEDx event, its organizer repeatedly explains his or her interpretation of the philosophy of TED and the ideas that underlie TEDx.  This perpetual redescription of ideas worth spreading helps clarify why and how we volunteer to take the idea of TED and turn it into action as TEDx.

TED changes lives by encouraging participants to explore their own.

At TEDGlobal 2010, Matt Ridley aptly shared his concept of ideas having sex:  ideas must be shared if we wish them to evolve “beyond the capacity of the [single] human mind” and reach their full innovative potential.  TED might then be an idea orgy because it exceeds explanation and seems to evolve faster than we can describe it.   It has shared its genes through TEDx and catalyzed a passionate global network of people who have thought in depth and at length about answering the question “What is TED?”   More than an organization, beyond conferences, far surpassing even the phenomenal TEDtalks.. TED is Ideas worth spreading, questions worth asking, curiosity worth pursuing, work worth doing; it represents man achieving his best and then exceeding it.

TED and TEDx events reflect the caliber ambition of creating opportunities from obstacles and thus making life TED-like and an epicenter of wonder.  There are endless discoveries to be made when we look at existing knowledge, ideas, and opinions in a new way.  So said the possibilist.

Human beings are beautiful things when reminded to thrive.   I shared this thought inspired by TEDx with Chris Anderson, who answered that TEDx hosts = heroes.  While I may be no hero, the hundreds of other TEDx hosts around the world certainly are.  And I know few so deserving of my gratitude than they who graciously share ideas worth spreading.   To TED, TEDx organizers, TED and TEDx supporters and attendees:  I sincerely appreciate the opportunity through TEDx to help others share inspiration in pursuit of innovation.

TEDxHuntsville 2012 Presenters

ideation.TopictoTopic

TEDx Music Project on Soundcloud

Few things make me excited to be working after 10 pm on Saturday.  The TEDx Music Project is one of them.  I’m thrilled to share the next phase and give a quick update on our progress since TEDxSummit.

TEDx Global Music is on Soundcloud!

The first phase includes 17 tracks.  Follow us to be among the first with access to the latest music from TEDx.

Our team is hard at work building the next generation of TEDxMusicProject.com.  It will go live in a few short weeks and feature TED API integration.  The new site will showcase both video and audio versions of the best live TEDx performances.

Listen to the tracks, download them and share with friends. Which track(s) do you like most?

Finally, a massive thank you to everyone who has helped make this happen and supported the TEDx Global Music Project along the way.  Major props to Souncloud for featuring us alongside audio sources such as The Economist and David Guetta.  We managed to gather well over 1,000 followers..in our first 24 hours public (June 22).  It’s only going to get bigger.

Follow the TEDx Music Project on Soundcloud.

Idea flow

Sitting outside. A storm approaches.  Strong air. Thinking about life, ideas, posture, air quality, metabolic networks, connectomics, neuroscience, biomimicry, dynamic architectures, infographics many things.  How do I choose what to blog about?  Which idea arrays generate the most spikes of late.. how am I most passionate?  What ideas are most valuable to you, for you to think, to stimulate your own mind?  Hm exploring other minds, understanding and fueling curiosity, exploring what exists.. What ideas spark me as splendid and why.  That’s what I will blog about.

Neuroscientists are combining viral addictive game mechanics with EM resolution imaging analytics of 3D brain tissue. Game changer.

Background: you are the connections among your neurons.  Humans have never mapped this “connectome.”  Not even of a mouse.  Some scientists did c. elegans, a 1 mm worm with 4,000 total connections.  It took 12 years.  You have 100 billion neurons, some with tens of thousands of connections.

Researchers use a blend of AI and manual mapping to trace the 3D shape of neurons (colorful picture above).  It takes 1,000 lab hours to map 1 cubic milimeter of tissue.  How big is a full brain?  One million times larger.  We’re working to solve the bottleneck by crowd-sourcing the analytics. Sebastian Seung’s lab at MIT conceptualized a game called WiredDifferently (because we are, and we must map it to see and understand ourselves) and built a live beta that allows users to help map retinal connectivity at the synaptic level by filling in a 3D coloring book of sorts (we don’t even know how we see!).  I will write more about this on healthsterling.com.

Is this splended? You decide.  I experience joy by thinking about neural network complexity and the sheer magnitude of challenge. We don’t even know how many different types of cells there are in our own heads!  Opportunity.  Time to accelerate the rate of exponential progress.  Develop new questions, technologies, understandings..

Other splendidities..

Language.  How does the way I think reflect a configuration of neurons?  I wonder.

Quora continues to fuel surprise discoveries.  Exploring how others explore fascinates me.  I love navigating thoughts with questions.  There is an entire network of ideas growng now.  Splended! You can be a part of it.  See how my ideas evolve. And check out these stats about your body.  Visualize..

What might you find curious…Last week was in San Fran working on the MIT project, before that was in Dubai and Doha for TEDxSummit (blog that) and prior to that TEDMED.  Hyper development in the past couple months.  Exceptional connectivity in rare environments catalyzes rapid idea prototyping.  Theories are evolving. More on that before the end of the year. For now, launched Healthy City pilot with DailyFeats; the TEDx Global Music Project was granted forward progress by TED, other projects hm this post is about what, making you think? You want to hear thoughts that come out of experiences.  Alright.

The Exploratorium: epic interactive museum.  These are whoa.

Uncoupled “simple” pendulum waveforms.

Magnetic sand (black and magnetic because it contains iron)

Ferrofluids, strongly magnetizable fluids.


In conclusion, think something new, think differently frequently.  Here’s a drop of surprise that I happened upon on Quora to get you on your way: what is the most badass ancient city?

x worth sharing

Relentlessly I insist that you start more side projects and share them.  It inspires me.  I believe in leading by example so here are two small crowd-sourced ones to get you started.

1. Design Worth Spreading

Tumblr featuring designs inspired by “ideas worth spreading” featured at TED or TEDx events.

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2. Photos of notes

Self explanatory.  10+ moleskines full of thoughts, drawings, quotes, left-handed writing that might make it look like I am on drugs, etc are going online for you to get a glimpse of my mind.

Inspire a stranger. Submit photos of your notes.

TED2012 begins one week from today.  Burst of enthusiasm.