Children of the Petabyte Age

Is it really the End of Theory, as Chris Anderson predicts?

Sixty years ago, digital computers made information readable. Twenty years ago, the Internet made it reachable. Ten years ago, the first search engine crawlers made it a single database. Now Google and like-minded companies are sifting through the most measured age in history, treating this massive corpus as a laboratory of the human condition. They are the children of the Petabyte Age.

At the petabyte scale, information is not a matter of simple three- and four-dimensional taxonomy and order but of dimensionally agnostic statistics.

I do believe, as they say in¬† AstronomyCast that knowing¬† “not just what we know but how we know what we know” gives you the ability to reason about hypotheses, models and theories. A new kind of analysis with petabytes of data may lead us down the path. But the examples are far fewer and not very convincing – yet.

I would love to watch this conversation and see where it takes us.

Updated: 1st Jul 08

I did not have to wait long. Here is a great article on Why the cloud cannot obscure the scientific method.