No categories?

Just because we have big data does not mean that the world acts as if there are no categories. And just because we have big (or very big, or massive) data does not mean that our databases are not theoretically … Mehr…

Reduction of Me

If I am defined by my clicks and purchases and so forth, I get represented largely as a person with no qualities other than “consumer with tastes.” However, creating a system that locks me into my tastes reduces me significantly. … Mehr…

Raw Data

So in some ways, categories are central to being in the world. Big data does not do away with categories at all. As I have argued elsewhere, the term “raw data” is itself an oxymoron. (Bowker 2014) #data #bigdata

Theories and Categories

So a two-part question—do we need theories, and do theories need categories? (Bowker 2014)

The Latourian De-Categorization

There is no need to go “outside” of events for their explanation—we do not need to assume that there are categories like society, class, ethnicity, and so forth: Everything depends on describing a specific correlation at a specific time…    … Mehr…


Ants act as if they are intelligent, in terms of organizing their colonies, farming fungi, and so forth, but they do not need to pass through ratiocination in order to achieve these goals. … global consciousness as glorified instinct rather than … Mehr…


For those of us brought up learning that correlation is not causation, there’s a certain reluctance to examine the possibility that correlation is basically good enough. (Bowker 2014) #model #data

The Model’s the thing

Chris Anderson proclaims: Theory is dead, long live data! Away with every theory “of human behavior, from linguistics to sociology. Forget taxonomy, ontology, and psychology.” … we don’t need to fit data into theory in order to create opportunities for more … Mehr…


»First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.« Leonard Cohen »First we take Chris Anderson, then we take Latour.« Geoffrey C. Bowker (2014)


For instance, OpenFace uses dlib for face detection which was trained on Labeled Faces in the Wild images which in turn used the Viola-Jones face detection that relies on Haar cascade classifier (no longer state-of-the-art) and these images were scraped from internet almost 10 years ago. … Mehr…