The Popularity Contest: Taxonomy Development in the PetabyteEra
Forget taxonomy, ontology, and psychology. Who knows why people do what they do? The point is they do it, and we can track and measure it with unprecedented fidelity. With enough data, the numbers speak for themselves.” (1)
Recently Chris Anderson wrote an article for Wired magazine called the The End of Theory. The thesis of the article in a nutshell is that the impending petabyte era of data storage signals the end of the traditional scientific method of discovery. No longer are we bound to the outdated model of observation, hypothesis and measurement. Computers (developed by Google & IBM) “can throw the numbers into the biggest computing clusters the world has ever seen and let statistical algorithms find patterns where science cannot.”
Sounds pretty cool, and logical. Our human brains can’t see patterns in datasets of petabyte size, and more importantly we don’t need to, we can let the computers do it for us. We can skip the why and get straight to the what.
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