Friday, April 12, 2013

The Phil Zone, acerbic, on Technological Progress and Science-as-Saviour as the "tattered gospel" preached by BBC's Horizon -- which is really "one of the UK's top religious programmes"-- focusing specifically on an episode that extols "data mining":

"From what I can glean, data mining can apparently help mitigate petty crime in a city awash with crime and close to social collapse. It can shave additional profit from a financial system that is almost entirely built on numerical fictions and abstractions. It can possibly do something useful with preventing genetic illness if our health system doesn't collapse. It can map out a cosmos we're never going to visit.

"This is not exactly hypersonic airliners and moon bases, is it? What isn't acknowledged here is just how low science and technology's sights have fallen. Data mining should really be called data scavenging, depending as it often does on figures recorded decades, perhaps centuries ago. It also reveals that science itself is well into the scavenging phase of its arc of decline, where, like an uninspired Indie band, it increasingly has to look into the overlooked or unexamined corners of the past in order to locate fruitful possibilities."

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