The Marginalian
The Marginalian

The Rise of Networkism: A Visual History of Human Knowledge, from Aristotle to the Algorithm

What Darwin has to do with superservers and galaxy formation.

Manuel Lima has spent a decade researching how we visualize and organize information. He collected his findings in The Book of Trees: Visualizing Branches of Knowledge (public library) — one of the best science books of 2014, which I’ve previously covered at length.

In this fascinating TED talk, Lima explores how and why, after eight hundred years of arboreal diagrams, we’re graduating to a new visual metaphor that better captures our human longings for order, balance, symmetry, and unity: the network. He bridges the timeless tenets of visual communication, the frontiers of neuroscience, and the changing shape of our social structures to map the evolution of human knowledge in the age of networkism, peering into the future of our sociocultural ecosystem.

See more of Lima’s research on knowledge networks here and complement it with this visual study of Enlightenment-Era social networks.

Published September 14, 2015




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