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    Big data and prediction: four case studies

    Northcott, Robert (2019) Big data and prediction: four case studies. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A , ISSN 0039-3681.

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    Abstract

    Has the rise of data-intensive science, or ‘big data’, revolutionized our ability to predict? Does it imply a new priority for prediction over causal understanding, and a diminished role for theory and human experts? I examine four important cases where prediction is desirable: political elections, the weather, GDP, and the results of interventions suggested by economic experiments. These cases suggest caution. Although big data methods are indeed very useful sometimes, in this paper’s cases they improve predictions either limitedly or not at all, and their prospects of doing so in the future are limited too.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Big data, prediction, case studies, explanation, elections, weather
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
    Depositing User: Robert Northcott
    Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2019 15:38
    Last Modified: 19 Sep 2019 15:48
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/29013

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