The Panopticom


The Universally Accessible Data Globe
See the world!

The first song to be released from i/o is based on an idea I have been working on, to initiate the creation of an infinitely expandable accessible data globe: The Panopticom.

We are beginning to connect a like-minded group of people who might be able to bring this to life, to allow the world to see itself better and understand more of what’s really going on.

  • More and more data is being created and very little is visible. The Panopticom platform is a constantly changing satellite fed globe which will be the central tool that allows people to upload and monitor appropriate and meaningful, personal, social, economic and political data along with all manner of scientific and environmental information. It should allow the world to see much more of itself.
  • Any data that has a geographical component will be logged into its global location and colour coded according to the degree of verification. The data, once it has passed reasonable tests of validity, will be written into the surface of the world via the Panopticom in indelible ‘digital ink,‘ so never again should threats to the planet, it’s people, flora and fauna, be invisible, denied forgotten or erased.
  • The tools for navigating the Panopticom will allow any citizen to search, using any point of reference: e.g., issue, date, location and even allow the enquirer to roll the planet back in time to when maps were first being drawn, or to see what’s happened to the Amazon basin or icecaps since we had satellite imagery.
  • On a personal level it could store where you first fell in love, where you were born, where you love to travel to.
  • I imagine that somewhere a huge physical globe will show all the data activity on its surface, along with a personal version for mobile, tablet and computer. I can also picture an interface like a slice of a sphere that could fit on a dinner plate and allow a more physical relationship with the data which would then appear on a screen.
  • By easily animating data, the Panopticom could, for example, enable us to monitor what is going on with climate and with the biosphere as it happens.
  • For human rights, it would enable every single transgression or human rights abuse, to be indelibly logged into the fabric of this digital planet, hopefully with a personal video account. It could also show when and where justice is achieved.
  • The Panopticom can evolve into a giantliving library of human and planetary experience, but also shine a light on and hopefully deter, the dark, the mal-intentioned and the dangerous.
  • The ability to visualise, to see what is really going on, transformed medicine. It could do the same for the planet.

These are just a few initial ideas. I am certain something like this will have to exist in the future. Let’s create the Panopticom together in an open, benign and generous way, that informs inspires and protects all the passengers on this big blue ball.

Peter Gabriel. January 2023.