Wiki science, zillionics and AI
Few quotes from Kevin Kelly's thoughts in Edge (it's called SPECULATIONS ON THE FUTURE OF SCIENCE); it's mostly about "the evolution of the scientific method" as the author precise. Some of the examples are interesting and curious (I don't agree with the novelty of all, like pattern recognition... hmm we already have that?)
AI Proofs – Artificial intelligence will derive and check the logic of an experiment. Artificial expert (...) systems will at first evaluate the scientific logic of a paper to ensure the architecture of the argument is valid. It will also ensure it publishes the required types of data. This "proof review" will augment the peer-review of editors and reviewers.
Wiki-Science – The average number of authors per paper continues to rise. With massive collaborations, the numbers will boom. Experiments involving thousands of investigators collaborating on a "paper" will commonplace. The paper is ongoing, and never finished. It becomes a trail of edits and experiments posted in real time — an ever evolving "document." Contributions are not assigned. Tools for tracking credit and contributions will be vital. Responsibilities for errors will be hard to pin down. Wiki-science will often be the first word on a new area. Some researchers will specialize in refining ideas first proposed by wiki-science.
Zillionics – Ubiquitous always-on sensors in bodies and environment will transform medical, environmental, and space sciences. Unrelenting rivers of sensory data will flow day and night from zillions of sources. This trend will require further innovations in statistics, math, visualizations, and computer science. More is different.
Return of the Subjective – Science came into its own when it managed to refuse the subjective and embrace the objective. The repeatability of an experiment by another, perhaps less enthusiastic, observer was instrumental in keeping science rational. But as science plunges into the outer limits of scale – at the largest and smallest ends – and confronts the weirdness of the fundamental principles of matter/energy/information such as that inherent in quantum effects, it may not be able to ignore the role of observer. Existence seems to be a paradox of self-causality, and 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.
Why do I blog this? Kelly's vision is of course is the one an observer of current technological change; sometimes it's a bit odd with regards to scientific practices but he certainly has some good ideas, and this meta-observation described here is valuable. I agree with some of the highlights he have; nothing really new in what I picked up here but it's relevant to my practice and I share the same feelings.