The emergent culture of images-on-screens is relatively little understood because it is so new to us. We must analyze and better understand the evolution of streaming video, special effects in cinema, viewports, remixes and mash-ups, the simultaneous use of a second screen, high definition, pseudo-color techniques, infrared or MRI, the impact of the widespread use Google maps, etc.

In 2012, 1 billion phones equipped with cameras were sold worldwide. Does this mean that 1,000 billion images have been produced in that year ?

From the study of the infinitely large to the infinitely small (from telescope to microscope) all scientific research and military applications generate billions of images-on-screens. We should also explore the uses and impacts of Visual Big Data because currently over 60% of web traffic is used to convey images (half from Netflix), versus only 25% for the exchange of files and 15% for all other general data :

The recent explosion

Previously, the use of images was rare. With the multiplication of inexpensive machines for communicating (especially inexpensive memory), images now invade our private and public environments, and pose enormous challenges for accessibility. For example, over 200,000 images are uploaded every minute on Facebook ; to which we can add those uploaded to Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Flickr and Google+.

This explosion of the use of images has been building up for the past 500 years :

Big Data

When we analyze the last 50 years represented on the diagram above, we see the appearance of Big Data, which imposes a culture based on images-on-screen on multi-media platforms. This eventually (and relatively quickly) creates bandwidth and space issues (chapter 1, no 7).

This business area (Big Data processing on multi-media platforms) offers many extension tools for analysis and planning, even if they are unequal to each other in terms of capabilities. The same type of information can differ depending on the short, medium or long term :

The latest features of these tools are linked to multiple choices, sustainable-development strategies, and predictive analysis (see below).

Here is an initial example of visualization. In the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, physicists cannot see the particles, but rather traces of the particles on the particle-detection screen. Below, the two blue lines in the image center are the two main paths of electrons :

Our need for increasingly complex analyses, accompanied by increasingly complex images, cannot be satisfied until the next wave of tools for visual synthesis arrive (3D and others) :