Dan Williams

Unexpected Item In The Bagging Area


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About this talk

In the 1980s geophysicist Andy Hildebrand was working for Exxon analysing seismic survey data. Hildebrand created digital signal processing software that took recordings of waves travelling through the ground from dynamite explosions and processed them to find hidden pockets of oil.

In 2013 the software has a new name and a very different purpose. You can hear its output on the radio, on YouTube and on X-Factor. No longer a tool for geophysicists but for pop stars. Auto-Tune uses the same process that identified underground rock layers to make vocals sound pitch perfect. To an algorithm there is no difference between Kanye’s voice and an oil deposit.

Auto-Tune isn’t the only technology shaping our lives in unexpected ways. In this talk we’ll look at our software mediated world, it’s consequences and our role in it as creators.

Dan Williams at dConstruct 2013 Photo by happy.apple

About Dan Williams

Dan W. makes things. Sometimes those things are made of atoms. Sometimes they are made of bits.

Display Cabinet is a mixture of both. And even the purely digital services Arrivals and When Should I Visit? are designed to make smooth your journey through the world of atoms and matter by giving you easy access to information from the networked world of bits.

Dan works at Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol. You can find his scrapbook on Tumblr where he documents the seemingly science-fictional collisions of technology and society that he sees happening all around.

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