From Galileo to Google: How Big Data Illuminates Human Culture


BOOK REVIEW

Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture, Authors: Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel.

By Maria Popova – Big data doesn’t comply with the basic premise of the scientific method — rather than eventuating causal relationships borne out of pre-existing hypotheses, it presents a seemingly bottomless pit of correlations awaiting discovery, often through the combination of doggedness and serendipity, an approach diametrically opposed to hypothesis-driven research.

But that, arguably, is exactly what makes big data so alluring — as Stuart Firestein has argued in his fantastic case for why ignorance rather than certitude drives science, modern science could use what the scientific establishment so readily dismisses as “curiosity-driven research” — exploratory, hypothesis-free investigations of processes, relationships, and phenomena. more> http://tinyurl.com/mb2ghss

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