For 100s of millions of years, correlation has been the natural heuristic of all intelligent behavior, The driver behind evolution is mindless correlation. All that matters is what survives with not consideration of "why?" Then came the scientific revolution and the scientific method and a demand to understand "why?"
Big Data by Mayer-Schonberger and Cukier makes the case that this brief respite from correlation is over, the scientific revolution is over, correlation is back in charge.
In the California Content Standards for Science, EVERY standard from kindergarten through high school includes the statement:
Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations.along with an age-appropriate discussion of the scientific method of observation, hypothesis, experimentation, analysis, and conclusions.
The goal is the scientific method is to discover "why?" Why is the sky blue? Why are my eyes blue? Why is the IBM logo blue? Why is sadness called blue? The scientific method over the last 500 years has made a fetish of understanding root causes, laughing at correlation ---
correlation is not causation.
Curiosity and discovery have changed. Now with the power of computers, BIG computers, this is all being turned on its head. Computers now make the observations --- skip the rest of those steps --- and that is the conclusion. This is so different that the world will change in ways that can not be imagined, but change it will. This book begins the discussion of a foreign topic that will seem so obvious as to not require any discussion by the generations are the end of this century. For now, take a peek.
I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway on June 15, 2013. I received the book on July 1, 2013.