Masters of the Metaverse

Posted: March 20th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Brian | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Photosynth is amazing. Among other things, it can scour through Creative Commons-licensed Flickr images and generate a composite 3D model of a site based on image tags, somehow triangulating the sites from which the photos were composed. I don’t know, I usually attribute things to algorithms when I don’t understand them. Anyway, now there is a real use for those obligatory tourist photos of famous destinations.

Photosynth’s “architect,” Blaise Aguera y Arcas, is the tightest computer nerd/physicist in the “metaverse.” I’m not sure if he coined that term, but all of this spatial talk about the infobahn is dizzying. Cyber-space, web-site, information superhighway. These geographical (and architectural) meta-metaphors are a bit of a stretch- they construct the internet as an existing physical entity. Still, there’s no doubt that the boundaries between cyberspace and physical space seem to be dissolving. Hyperreality is becoming a reality. Whoa dude.

5 Comments on “Masters of the Metaverse”

  1. 1 Sukjong said at 7:10 pm on March 20th, 2008:

    as you know, my response to photosynth involved me falling off the chair and temporary paralysis. Digital collective memory? A multi-scalar, multi-modal and cross-user exchange of visual and textual data? tourist photos reconstituted into a larger SOCIAl and not just rapacious neo-colonial/consumerist experience? If only Blaise wasn’t acquired by Microsoft…

    actually this post cycles perfectly back to adam’s first post and his question about the sheer volume and apparent chaos of the digital (and largely sucky) visual archives we all have generated and whether this could possibly be linked to new forms of networked creativity.

    for me, at first glance, this program actually epitomizes what network theory and the internet promises in the first place – you don’t lose all the individual sources to the greater whole (unlike a wiki article), and all the kitsch, Uncle Johnny waving in front of the Taj Mahal, the crooked angled blurry shots, contributes to the whole by its relationship to other photos rather than on the strength of its own composition or clarity alone. Absolutely everything, every picture, matters…

    Woe to the unphotographed.

  2. 2 isa said at 9:58 pm on March 25th, 2008:

    thank goodness photosynth does not compromise the JOY and GOOD EXPERIENCE of reading the real paper version of a magazine or newspaper


  3. 3 Gabe said at 12:59 pm on March 27th, 2008:

    I agree with Sukjong- this does epitomize the theoretical nature of the collective potential of the internet. Or more broadly, all digital media. How the software is recognizing visual cues and organizing them against other (seemingly) random images in a coherent fashion is mind blowing.

    Furthermore, working in web design and web apps, having “resolution free” images allows for site content to be organized in fashion that is much more graphically appealing. Pop-ups, scaling issues for adverts and even browser compatibility issues could be resolved. Not more designing for different font scales in browsers!

  4. 4 Zach said at 10:31 am on April 1st, 2008:

    I wonder if it’s possible to have enough preset cameras focused on one building, uploading photos to Photosynth every 3 seconds, to construct functional models of locations that would be consistently up-to-date, so that I could walk through the front door of a museum, and someone using Photosynth could sort of virtually take a walk right by me?

  5. 5 chris e said at 4:22 pm on April 30th, 2008:

    yo brian, did you know our boy p-sibs is moving to seattle to work on photosynth?? we got a dude on the inside working on the hyperreality!

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