Visualizing the Fortune 500.

Description

In his 1942 book, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, Austrian economist Joseph A. Schumpeter wrote: “Capitalism, then, is by nature a form or method of economic change and not only never is but never can be stationary. [...] The fundamental impulse that sets and keeps the capitalist engine in motion comes from the new consumers’ goods, the new methods of production or transportation, the new markets, the new forms of industrial organization that capitalist enterprise creates. [...] The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop and factory to such concerns as U. S. Steel illustrate the same process of industrial mutation—if I may use that biological term—that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.

This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism.”

We have seen five industrial revolutions; what will be the sixth? Schumpeter’s theory suggests these revolutions come in waves of increasing frequency. With the marginal cost of computing dropping to near zero, distributed computing is democratizing the power of A.I.—suggesting it may be the next wave. From autonomous vehicles to personal assistants, A.I. has and will continue to profoundly disrupt all aspects of society.

I am especially interested in the intersection of A.I. and design. In this experiment, I have used A.I. to visualize the logos of the Fortune 500 companies, by visual similarity. A task that would be time-consuming and difficult for a human takes the computer mere moments. The outcome is a live visualization, where calculations are done in the browser, enabling the viewer to change the parameters of the underlying algorithms—dramatically altering the outcome.

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The experiment is in the final stages of development and will be published with its source code once completed. To be notified when the experiment goes lives, add your email below.