The Infinite Retina | Irena Cronin on The Artists of Data Science Podcast

The Artists of Data Science
5 min readAug 22, 2020


On this episode of The Artists of Data Science, we get a chance to hear from Irena Cronin, the co-author of The Infinite Retina.

She currently serves as CEO of Infinite Retina, an organization which provides research and business strategy to help companies succeed in spatial computing. She gives insight into what sparked her interest into spatial computing, how she sees spatial computing influencing our world, and the potential data problems that will result from more spatial computing technology.

Irena shares with us what led her from leaving her career as an equity research analyst on Wall Street to working with AR/VR and other spatial computing tech. This episode is packed with interesting insights in our future, and I believe anyone listening will have something to ponder on!

Some notable segments from the show

[8:15] Some concerns with spatial computing

[11:10] What makes us human, and how it related to spatial computing

[17:20] The four technical paradigm shifts

[28:56] How spatial computing and autonomous vehicles will shape our future

[43:12] Advice for women that want to break into tech

Where to listen to the show

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, YouTube, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Irena’s journey into spatial computing

Irena was an economics major, and her education led her to become an equity research analyst on Wall Street. She spent 8 years working as an equity research analyst, and in 2015, she was introduced to VR through a friend of hers. Ever since then, she has focused her attention into this space.

[3:00] “This is a nascent kind of industry. It’s going to still take a while for it to develop, but that’s what makes it really awesome.”

Where is the field of spatial computing headed in 2–5 years?

The field of spatial computing should be going more mainstream. Everyday people will start having access to this technology within the next few years.

[6:53] “Okay, so it’s been leaked Apple is going to come out with their headsets on 2020–2023… However, in two to five years, it should be going more mainstream, so regular everyday people will be able to access and use it. Additionally, I’m currently working with a company called Mojo Vision, which is working on an augmented contact lens. So this is another way you could integrate spatial computing into your world.”

Key takeaways from the episode

What is spatial computing?

[4:09] Spatial computing is all the technology associated with bringing a 3D realm to it’s users. This encompasses artificial intelligence, computer vision, augmented reality, VR, sensor technology, automated vehicles, etc.

Concerns of spatial computing

[8:15] The biggest issue associated with the technologies associated with spatial computing is the data that will be coming in. Privacy is also a concern, and details around privacy will need to be hashed out regarding what information companies will be collecting. Another concern is tech addiction, which will only get worse with spatial technology.

The four technical paradigm shifts


1) The desktop computer: everyday people begin using computers

2) Graphical interface: everyday people can now use interfaces without having a technical background. Example would be being able to print a document by clicking “print” rather than running a command to do so.

3) Mobile: phones become cell phones, and computers become laptops.

4) Spatial computing: combines all of the previous aspects and adds a third dimensionality.

Spatial computing and autonomous vehicles shaping our future

[28:56] Autonomous vehicles can affect our culture in various ways. One example is that these vehicles can be used to bring things to you, rather than you having to leave to go somewhere. This is similar to us watching movies on Netflix in our homes, rather than going to the movie theater. Secondly, these vehicles will allow for the decentralization of cities. Public transportation will not be needed anymore, and commuting to work takes on a whole different meaning.

Being a woman in STEM

[43:12] The most important thing women can do is be extremely persistent. Any setback, whether real or imaginative, should not stop someone from going after their goals. Obviously, everyone needs to learn certain technical skills to succeed, but the continuous persistence is the key.

Memorable quotes

[16:59] “Technology…it’s always been a tool for us. But even more so with spatial computing.”

[43:12] “I’d say the most important thing you can ever do is to be extremely persistent, no matter what”

[44:42] “I think it’s extremely important to have professors and the students in a class, …take time to listen to everyone who wants to speak… and not let anyone monopolize that precious time.”

The one thing that Irena wants you to learn from her story

[46:12] Just do what you want to do and don’t let anybody stop you.

From the lightning round

Best advice

Don’t always listen to others’ advice, even if it seems to be well intentioned.

Saying on billboard

Have courage to do what you want to do.

Advice to 18 year old self

Travel more.

Topic outside of data science we should study

Behavioral science. You need to understand people, and how data affects people.

Recommended book

Animal Farm by George Orwell.





Episode Transcript

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The transcript for this episode can be found here.

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