Random walks

Computer-generated random walks

Random walks can create interesting visual effects. I came across a video from Khan Academy mentioning them, so I decided to create some simple drawings. In a random walk, a decision at each step is made where to go further. Different parameters like initial position, direction, speed of movement, length of the step and color can all play a role in how a final drawing can look like. The longer the sequence of unique decisions is, the more unique each path becomes. If we look more closely, we could almost perceive how this adds character to each color. In a sense, a complete random walk can act as a history or ID of something.

Companies often seek ways to learn more about the paths of their customers to serve them better. Starbucks has recently started to sell coffee with trucks that follow the movement of the students during the day. Wherever they go, they have access to fresh coffee for longer periods of time. When each preference and purchase can be tracked universally as they are today, companies will increasingly have the power to follow individual paths back in time. Although this allows them to make more informed business decisions, it can also intefere with our privacy. Individual purchases now no longer count as interesting, when more sustainable profits can be seen only through the examination of our paths—however random they might be,—possibly followed by DNA analysis in the future.

When was the last time you were on a random walk? Did you see something beautiful or learn something unexpected? Which color were you?