Enterprise Information Management in the 21st Century

EIM in the age of Semantcs, Big Data, and Social Media

The Data Philosopher

To whom it may concern:

This blog posting is an application for a job. Rather, it’s really an application for a job title. In the Data Roundtable discussion that concluded the recent DataFlux IDEAS conference, Jim Harris coined a new term in relation to Rich Murnane’s discussion of the “Data Scientist” – the “Data Philosopher.” As he tweeted later in the day, “Science without Philosophy is Blind. Philosophy without Science is Empty. Data needs BOTH Science and Philosophy.” I would like to apply for this job title.

Here is a summary of my qualifications:

  • I agree completely with your sentiment – philosophy is just as important as science. In fact, to some people (like Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park), it’s even more important.
  • The application of philosophy to computing is the reason I’m in this business to begin with. I feel that if we are to have true artificial intelligence, we will need to implant a system of ethics and philosophy into the machines, much like Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics. I want to be on the team that makes that decision.
  • As we transition into the era of Big Data, I think philosophy becomes more important, since we no longer can afford to keep every scrap of information we can collect.
  • I always wanted to be included in a song written by Eric Idle.

I look forward to your response.


One thought on “The Data Philosopher

  • Jim Harris says:

    Excellent post, Steve.

    Thanks for continuing the conversation about the need for both science and philosophy in the era of Big Data.

    Philosophical Regards,


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