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Massive Comprehension Machine

An audiovisual interface for mapping the news media in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

by Lot Amorós

"If you draw knowledge, notice its form."

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Made with Processing and RiTa || Click F11 for full screen view || Please leave your comments here || Should you generate an interesting network, please make a screenshot and send it!!

:: Massive Comprehension Machine

is an audiovisual device for simultaneous navigation in two semantic networks generated in real time facing a unique concept: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but addressed from two opposing views: the media that operates on one or other side of the border. Can semantic netwoks map thoughts? Can they disclose structures that reflect the way we see the world? This device allows the investigation between the subjectivity and imaginary of one and other, and also from the subjectivity of the visitor, dealing with the complexity of one of the greatest conflicts inherited from the 20th century.

This application has its origin in the School of Architecture at the University of Alicante during the winter workshop on ARCHITECTURE, URBAN PLANNING AND TECHNOLOGIES IN THE ISRAEL/PALESTINIAN CONFLICT, with Régine Debatty and Hackitectura.

:: The Interface

is designed to require an active participation of the user to deepen the concept that he/she would like to explore. In this way, the user is involved in the conflict and can ask himself/ herself questions such as: What is important and what is not? Why the semantic network gives me this result? The keys to navigate in a semantic network with thousands of nodes are hierarchies. We can surf the net from more present concepts or of greater size, and zoom up towards words with less relevance. The search tool facilitates the research of unusual concepts, showing only directly related words. The words are connected from multiple news, and therefore the relations are sensitive to the frequency in which they appear. At a glance, we can see the most important concepts and the relationships of each vision of the conflict. To give the work an immersion nature, when you select a node you can see news related to this concept by the use of a machine-readable robot.

:: Why mapping the media news?

At the same time that war is made for resources, such as territory or water. A much more complex battle emerges: the war of thought. When mapping the media, we map the knowledge of thousands of people who starting from this information build their own model of the world, so indirectly we are mapping the human thought. The battlefield of this new war is carried out in a very concrete scenario: the human brain of each individual is positioned face to the conflict. The weapons have also changed; the Internet is presented as a weapon of mass implantation of truth. We are in a new world with new paradigms: Can the money win an ideological battle? While we ask ourselves these questions, the Israeli vision of the conflict appears at the forefront in the news of Google Adsense where we are seeking words as Gaza, Israel and Palestine. At the same time, Israel hires hundreds of bloggers to invade the Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter and global forums with messages pro-Israel, and prepares the Net-War: attacks on Israeli hackers against Hamas. Meanwhile, the bloggers remaining in Palestinian territory and the international networks of Palestinian solidarity are documenting the conflict.

:: Cyborg or Artificial Intelligence?

Despite the fact Aristotle was the pioneer in referring a set of rules that partly described how the mind works, it was not until 1956 when the term Artificial Intelligence was coined associated to computing by John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky and Claude Shannon. Euphoric foresights were done however never fulfilled. This failure marked the pessimism around this science during the following decades. The display of information is not Artificial Intelligence. The problem of comparing two graphs with hundreds of nodes cannot be addressed at present from the point of view of Artificial Intelligence; it is a problem NP-Complete. Instead of presenting mathematical algorithms to determine the differences between two semantic networks, we change the format of representation of the information using the human brain as a computer, "Computing becomes organic". This device not only increases the entropy, but brings closer the representation of the information to the structure of cognitive brain. Changing the format with this clear intention, what we are explicitly doing is to increase the human cognitive capacity on a particular problem.

:: Mapped media

Israel semantic net

Gaza semantic net

Source Code (GPL): MassiveComprehensionMachine Edge Node SearchBox

:: Cartografiando Gaza

This work is part of the exhibition mapping Gaza: