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Sabina Leonelli: Five ways in which big data can destroy science (and what to do about it)

When:We 06-06-2018 15:15 - 17:00
Where:room Omega

Colloquium lecture by Sabina Leonelli (Exeter), organized by the Department of Theoretical Philosophy

In many areas of science increasingly powerful technologies allow researchers to generate a whole lot of data, which are then disseminated via digital databases. Having heaps of data available online sounds great, but it raises real problems. How are we to explore and make sense of this enormous quantity of data? Philosophers have had a lot to say about how we can make robust inferences by triangulating between multiple lines of evidence, and how we handle data in order to yield meaningful and reliable knowledge. I will draw on this literature to examine the conditions under which big data should be aggregated and interpreted. I then discuss the ways in which big data misuse could significantly damage the credibility and trustworthiness of scientific research as a whole.