Title: Curses and Blessings of an (almost) Data-Complete Science: Big Data and the Social Sciences
Abstract: Big Data has turned the social sciences from a traditionally data-poor science into arguably the most data-complete science to date – and this basically “overnight”. With over 99% of all of human kinds’ technologically mediated information in digital format, and a mobile penetration of 98% worldwide, the digitalization of human interaction produces an impressively detailed digit al footprint of everything that’s relevant for the social sciences. Each and every digital communication inevitably leaves a trace that can be analyzed to better understand and influence social conduct. This renders many traditional survey and data collect ion and production processes obsolete. While creating unprecedented opportunities for private actors and lots of low hanging fruits for academic research, it also creates challenges that call for a profound paradigm shift in our relation to data.
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