This chapter critically examines the concept of “big data” and the associated claims of using big data to solve myriad social and scientific problems. Four myths associated with “big data” are discussed. These are: (1) data are given; (2) “big data” is a natural resource; (3) numbers speak for themselves; and (4) everything is already digital. Each of these is critiqued and shown to be wanting. This is done by using examples of big data in different social and scientific application domains, and by drawing on insights from the philosophy of science and technology, science and technology studies (sts), and the emerging field of critical data studies. The conclusion raises a number of questions, the answers to which will enable people to engage critically with big data and to contribute to the development of critical big data studies. The conclusion also reflects on the author’s own use of data to support her arguments.keywordsbig datacritical theorystsandrew feenbergcritical data studiestechnologymythsmetaphorshumanitiesethnography.
|Title of host publication
|The Necessity of Critique
|Subtitle of host publication
|Andrew Feenberg & the Philosophy of Technology
|Published - 2022