This Is What Your Wikipedia Edits Look Like

Normally I'd file this image under our "what is this" image cache, but as you've already clocked, it's somehow related to our Memory [Forever] theme. Those pretty colors are a visualization of the thousands of Wikipedia edits made by a bot.

It's not just a one-off visualization for adding to our Tumblrs either. It's the work of Many Eyes, a website set up by a pair of computer scientists at IBM, to catalog visual representations of data. Looking at the site now, two years after Wired brought it to light and interviewed founder Martin Wattenberg, recent artworks tackle the issue of migration in the US, and cremations.

When asked by Wired back then why he's so keen to visualize data, Watterberg responded that:

"Language is one of the best data-compression mechanisms we have. The information contained in literature, or even email, encodes our identity as human beings. The entire literary canon may be smaller than what comes out of particle accelerators or models of the human brain, but the meaning coded into words can't be measured in bytes. It's deeply compressed. Twelve words from Voltaire can hold a lifetime of experience."

Wikipedia data remains a favorite for them though, thanks to the "idea of completeness" Watterberg talks about, that even though all the data on Wikipedia equals a terabyte or so, "it's huge in terms of encompassing human knowledge." [Many Eyes via Wired]

Memory [Forever] is our week-long consideration of what it really means when our memories, encoded in bits, flow in a million directions, and might truly live forever.