a long-held positivist fantasy — the complete account of the universe that is always just around the corner

For Rudder and the other neo-positivists conducting research from tech-company campuses, Big Data always stands in the shadow of the bigger data to come. The assumption is that there is more data today and there will necessarily be even more tomorrow, an expansion that will bring us ever closer to the inevitable “pure” data totality: the entirety of our everyday actions captured in data form, lending themselves to the project of a total causal explanation for everything. Over and over again, Rudder points out the size, power, and limitless potential of his data only to impress upon readers how it could be even bigger. This long-held positivist fantasy — the complete account of the universe that is always just around the corner — thereby establishes a moral mandate for ever more intrusive data collection.

via View From Nowhere. On the cultural ideology of Big Data
Nathan Jurgenson in The New Inquiry
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