Scientography: recording paradox has posted a thought piece on the evolution of scientific method over the next few decades. It doesn't just indulge in speculation about future technology, which is interesting in its fashion, but which always seems to me to miss the larger point that we know things through science.

The question here: can scientific method know differently?

Kevin Kelly believes that ubiquitous computing, virtualization and the near-zero cost of digital storage and transportation will enable great leaps in scientific understanding. Some developments he foresees:

  • Compiled negative results - keep the negative results. Given the near-zero cost of storage and communication, there is no need to discard negatives. Those results might be useful in the future.
  • Post-hoc scientific analysis - all of the accumulated data can be studied to yield scientific results  in the absence of formal experimentation. He calls it "triple blind" testing.
  • Zillionics - environmental and body sensory data results in a never ending tide of data, resulting in "a new scientific perspective in terms of permissible errors, numbers of unknowns, probable causes, repeatability, and significant signals." The sheer size of the data pool will make science qualitatively different in the future.
  • Deep Simulations - virtualization of any possibility will become the norm for every scientific field.
  • Return of the subjective - "any science exploring the origins of existence will eventually have to embrace the subjective, without become irrational. The tools for managing paradox are still undeveloped."

Depends on what you mean by "irrational," I suppose. Read the entire piece if you get the chance.

Hat tip: Innovation Insider.


Technorati: epistemology, scientific method