Machine Intelligence & Generative Design

generative design, machine Intelligence, Uncategorized

With my new User Experience job at Redcom Laboratories, I throttled back on my courses to part-time status, and took two classes for Fall 2015 semester, and two classes for Spring 2016 semester. This has allowed me some breathing room for more thesis development, as one of the classes is on developing my problem statement and research.

So I returned to my previous work from a year ago, and see lots of holes and gaps in what I had previously done, which is a very good thing. Last summer I was able to work on some prototypes, and think more about what my thesis needs to explore. As I now see it, the issues of primary importance seem to be:

  • Exploration of our humanity and expansion of consciousness via the concept of Personal Transformation.
  • Use of Generative Design system(s) to provide the basis of the experience.
  • Machine Intelligence to provide the neural network and backbone for Generative Design system.

Personal Transformation Process

In her review of Personal Transformation as it relates to the field of nursing, Gail Holland Wade provided this synopsis in her 1998 article ‘A Concept Analysis of Personal Transformation.’  

Personal transformation is preceded by a disorienting dilemma that disrupts the order of one’s life (Ferguson 1980, Loder 1981, Wildemeersch & Lierman 1988, Busick 1989, Mezirow 1991). Anything that draws the individual into a mindful, watchful state produces a disorienting dilemma and the potential for transformation. Disorienting dilemmas may include stressful life experiences and transitions, relationships with individuals, a book, or a new environment (Ferguson 1980, Wildemeersch & Lierman 1988).

Journal of Advanced Nursing, Volume 28, Issue 4, pages 713–719, October 1998

Ferguson (et. al.) established that a stressful life experience or environment may lead to an opportunity for Personal transformation, but as Wade further points out in her article, her research indicated that, “for transformation to occur, the individual must make a deliberate choice to confront the conflict or dilemma.”

So essentially, you can’t make someone play ball if they don’t want to. And that’s fine. Participants can always have the choice, and not everyone with experience a catharsis. In fact, I would be shocked if it did. My intent would be to use Generative Design as a way to explore our humanity in new ways.

Machine Intelligence

As part of my ongoing research, I have slowly stumbled upon the concepts of machine learning and machine intelligence. This has lead me through various articles and programming languages related to AI and machine learning. It seems that there are many ways to take a bite at the apple, and I will definitely need some assistance in figuring out the right pathways to achieve my desired results.

I am also going to have to learn some additional programming languages like Python and Tensor Flow. I also came across some articles on Medium by Blaise Aguera y Arcas. Blaise is apparently a big deal in the machine intelligence world. He runs the machine intelligence research at Google. Google is also apparently very interested in how machine learning and the arts can work together. Hmmm… Interesting…

So what’s a grad student to do? Well, I sent him an email telling him about my project and asking a few questions about machine intelligence. Maybe he’ll answer me. Or maybe it was just a note in a bottle that is now adrift in the internet ether. Who knows…


Like Sands Through the Hour Glass…


So I was very productive this summer. I did a number of arduino projects and did a lot of additional reading and research on Joseph Campbell and made some significant updates. One of the books I finished reading was ‘The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art’ by David Lewis-Williams. The book presents an excellent  study into the background and possible social implications of cave painting and suggests some meanings for the activity of cave painting in upper neolithic societies.

At the end of the summer, I was ready to head back to school full time to continue my program and dive headlong into more thesis research and refining my proposal.

As it happened, I was recruited by a local software company for a User Experience position. It was a position and offer that was too good to pass up – so I am now working full time and I am taking two classes at RIT part-time. While this puts my formal Thesis work on hold for a bit, I will certainly continue to push forward with it in addition to my other coursework, career work, and everything else in my life.

I will likely return back to this as things develop more, but for now, I will take a bit of a break from it.

Summertime Sadness


With the end of the school term, I now have time to devote to what else… more research. In speaking with my thesis advisor (Dan Deluna) last semester, I realize that I will need to work over this summer to close the knowledge gaps in order to ensure that my thesis will be completed by Spring of next year (2016). So, I purchased a basic Arduino starter kit and some additional sensors and plan to do some work on those items. As I work on these things, I will (hopefully) provide some updates along the way.

So here’s my summer to-do list and required reading:

To Do:

Javascript, Java & Arduino Tutorials & Prototypes

  • IR Sensor Arrays
  • Interconnection of Arduino with Processing

Processing Tutorials & Prototypes

  • Build functional version using simple geometry.
  • Creating vector shapes in processing via interpolation of points.

Projection Mapping with Quartz Composer & tests with a projector.

Reading List:

The mind in the cave : consciousness and the origins of art: David Lewis-Williams
Inside the Neolithic Mind: Consciousness, Cosmos and the Realm of the Gods: David Lewis-Williams, David Pearce
The Shamans of Prehistory: Trance and Magic in the Painted Caves: Jean Clottes, David Lewis-Williams, Sophie Hawkes
The Hero With a Thousand Faces: Joseph Campbell
Myths to Live By: Joseph Campbell
Primitive Mythology (The Masks of God): Joseph Campbell