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The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete

"All models are wrong, but some are useful." So proclaimed statistician George Box 30 years ago, and he was right. But what choice did we have? Only models, from cosmological equations to theories of human behavior, seemed to be able to consistently, if imperfectly, explain the world around us. Until now. Today companies like Google, which have grown up in an era of massively abundant data, don't have to settle for wrong models. Sixty years ago, digital computers made information readable. The Petabyte Age is different because more is different. At the petabyte scale, information is not a matter of simple three- and four-dimensional taxonomy and order but of dimensionally agnostic statistics. Google's founding philosophy is that we don't know why this page is better than that one: If the statistics of incoming links say it is, that's good enough. This is a world where massive amounts of data and applied mathematics replace every other tool that might be brought to bear.

Related:  Systems Thinking around Big DataSHS3G Sciences humaines et sociales Troisième générationArtificial intelligence

Patterns amid Complexity By Greg Fisher Among the people I talk to about complex systems, a common point made is that the future is inherently uncertain or “unknowable”. I have emphasised this myself in a number of blogs and papers – it results from the concept of emergence “breaking” determinism (as well as from quantum uncertainty). But in this blog I want to flesh out what I mean when I say “the future is inherently unknowable” because the issue is much more nuanced than this statement implies, and because I would like to provoke some discussion. I should mention that it was a conversation with my colleague Rhett Gayle that catalysed this blog, after he rightly questioned my use (as well as that of others) of this phrase. At the heart of my argument are two points: (i) it’s important to distinguish between randomness and complex systems because the latter includes patterns whereas the former does not; and (ii) it is patterns that determine our ability to anticipate and / or influence the future.

Jessi Slaughter Overview Jessi Slaughter (real name: Jessica Leonhardt), formerly known as KerliGirl13 on YouTube, is a Florida teenager who became a target of a massive 4chan raid in July 2010 after launching a public tirade against the image board community in a series of YouTube videos. The feud quickly led to the creation of hundreds of image macros and remix videos mocking Jessica and her father, who later became involved in the drama, and prompted one of the first public discussions of cyberbullying as a serious issue in the news media. Background On July 10th, 2010, StickyDrama user tdomf_e8e13 posted an accusation that the vocalist of electronica band Blood On The Dance Floor (BOTDF) Dahvie Vanity was pursuing a sexual relationship with the underaged Jessica Leonhardt. “BOTDF lead singer Dahvie Vanity is at it again!

The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win TOKYO, JAPAN — Rémi Coulom is sitting in a rolling desk chair, hunched over a battered Macbook laptop, hoping it will do something no machine has ever done. That may take another ten years or so, but the long push starts here, at Japan’s University of Electro-Communications. The venue is far from glamorous — a dingy conference room with faux-wood paneling and garish fluorescent lights — but there’s still a buzz about the place. Spectators are gathered in front of an old projector screen in the corner, and a ragged camera crew is preparing to broadcast the tournament via online TV, complete with live analysis from two professional commentators. Big Data needs Big Theory In this guest cross-post, Geoffrey West, former President of the Santa Fe Institute, argues that just as the industrial age produced the laws of thermodynamics, we need universal laws of complexity to solve intractable problems of the post-industrial era, and that ‘big data’ needs such ‘big theory’. For more on this topic, see David Hales’ guest post from February this year ‘Lies, Damned Lies and Big Data’. As the world becomes increasingly complex and interconnected, some of our biggest challenges have begun to seem intractable. What should we do about uncertainty in the financial markets?

WebHome < Digitalmethods The Link | The Website | The Engine | The Spheres | The Webs | Post-demographics | Networked Content Welcome to the Digital Methods course, which is a focused section of the more expansive Digital Methods wiki. The Digital Methods course consists of seven units with digital research protocols, specially developed tools, tutorials as well as sample projects. In particular this course is dedicated to how else links, Websites, engines and other digital objects and spaces may be studied, if methods were to follow the medium, as opposed to importing standard methods from the social sciences more generally, including surveys, interviews and observation.

Xerox PARC Forum: AI and Robotics at an Inflection Point by omohundro On September 18, 2014 Steve Omohundro gave the Xerox PARC Forum on “AI and Robotics at an Inflection Point”. Here’s a PDF file of the slides. Harnessing Big Data with a Systems Thinking Approach – (A Harley Davidson Case Study) With 90% of the world’s data created in the last two years, what can we expect our data vaults to hold two or even twenty years from now? Today we measure our lives in peta-bytes but by 2020 estimates show a 2,300% increase in the bits and bytes that will define our lives. 35 zeta-bytes to be exact. How then can we as a society leverage the intrinsic value of so much data without getting bogged down with its complexity? Around the turn of the century, we experienced a similar moment of euphoria when retail outlets opened ‘virtual stores’ and sold products to online buyers. A famous IBM TV ad once depicted an overwhelmed young company whose products went from a few online orders a day to hundreds of thousands.

Robot Garage Sale - used robot parts, robot sale, cheap robot parts Show Price: $9.90 In Stock Item #: SS-ROB12745M - Bigger isn't always better - and the EMAX 9g ES08A High Sensitivity Mini Servo will prove it! The small form factor and low weight of this servo makes it perfect for a vast range of smaller scale projects. The Future of Decision Making: Less Intuition, More Evidence - Andrew McAfee by Andrew McAfee | 9:00 AM January 7, 2010 Human intuition can be astonishingly good, especially after it’s improved by experience. Savvy poker players are so good at reading their opponents’ cards and bluffs that they seem to have x-ray vision. Firefighters can, under extreme duress, anticipate how flames will spread through a building. And nurses in neonatal ICUs can tell if a baby has a dangerous infection even before blood test results come back from the lab. The lexicon to describe this phenomenon is mostly mystical in nature.

Neural networks and deep learning When a golf player is first learning to play golf, they usually spend most of their time developing a basic swing. Only gradually do they develop other shots, learning to chip, draw and fade the ball, building on and modifying their basic swing. In a similar way, up to now we've focused on understanding the backpropagation algorithm. It's our "basic swing", the foundation for learning in most work on neural networks. In this chapter I explain a suite of techniques which can be used to improve on our vanilla implementation of backpropagation, and so improve the way our networks learn. Of course, we're only covering a few of the many, many techniques which have been developed for use in neural nets.

IT Blog Don’t sell the technology, sell the application of big data - Insight IT Blog Emma DeSousa May 21, 2013 Whether it’s the boardroom or a potential customer you are trying to convince, make sure you have good case study or two at hand, says Emma de Sousa Disturbing? Certainly. Distasteful? Probably. the end of Netvizz (?) Today Netvizz, an app that allows researchers to download data from the Facebook platform, was suspended by the company and I received a mail explaining why: Your app is violating the following Platform Policies:Platform Policy Section 1: Build a quality product. Platform Policy 1.1: Build an app that is stable and easily navigable.Platform Policy 3.3: Only use friend data (including friends list) in the person’s experience in your app.To clarify, your app should be stable and easy to use and shouldn’t stall escessively. Additionally, you should not allow friend data export, even if that data is anonymized. You can access the full list of our Platform Policies here:

Visual Information Theory Posted on October 14, 2015 I love the feeling of having a new way to think about the world. I especially love when there’s some vague idea that gets formalized into a concrete concept. Information theory is a prime example of this.