SXSW Interactive 2014, Austin, TX

Presentation 

The Tyranny of Edward Tufte

1. Collect all the data. 
2. Design all the data with integrity. 
3. ??? 
4. Achieve universal knowledge and understanding.

When Edward Tufte tweets mockingly of the leaked NSA slides, he does so as the self-anointed king of presenting evidence. Empiricism’s head cheerleader, he has built an empire on telling everyone—lowly marketer to NASA bigwig—what Truth looks like.

And we eat it up.

But he has also perpetuated a culture where power is held by those with the data. As we shift our appreciation for discourse to those with the willingness and know-how to compress communication into bits and bytes of data-visualization and infographics, to what dangers do we open ourselves up? Do we move towards a future where we communicate solely via visualization, swap talking for looking, and seek to represent our own nuanced belief systems with universal iconography?