Big Data and the ‘‘Book of Society”

An important point from the paper Big Data, social physics, and spatial analysis: The early years by Trevor J Barnes and Matthew W Wilson:

The most immediate invocation of monism by Big Data is its assumption that the social world can be mathematized in the same way as the natural world. Just as Galileo thought that the Book of Nature is written in the language of mathematics, there is a parallel belief within Big Data about the ‘‘Book of Society.’’ Without the supposition that the social world can be fully made over as numbers, Big Data would have no purchase. We also suggest that monism is invoked by Big Data in a second form, at least implicitly. When Big Data deploys models of spatial analysis monism is presumed, because those models partly rest on a social physics that makes monism foundational.

http://bds.sagepub.com/content/1/1/2053951714535365.abstract

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