Showing posts from June, 2017

The Social and the Technological: Rethinking each in light of the other

In June of 2008, former Nature and Science editor Chris Anderson wrote a rather controversial article for Wired magazine. Titled The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete, Anderson opined that the “petabyte age” and the rise of big data has started to undermine the very foundations of what is the dominant paradigm of scientific research today: with the massive sets of data that we have in our hands, the traditional scientific method of sampling, hypothesis testing, and using theory to ground causal explanations is losing out to the power of pure correlation.

“Correlation is enough.” , he declared. “We can stop looking for models. We can analyze the data without hypotheses about what it might show. We can throw the numbers into the biggest computing clusters the world has ever seen and let statistical algorithms find patterns where science cannot.”

This is in many ways a very interesting idea to entertain in one’s head. More relevant however, is the tensi…