Giorgio Baruchello on Big Data, Professionalism and Tacit Knowing

Chapter after Giorgio in the new book Big Data. Promise, Application and Pitfalls
Giorgio Baruchello on Big Data, Professionalism and Tacit Knowing

Edward Elgar has just released a new book entitled Big Data. Promise, Application and Pitfalls, edited by John Storm Pedersen (University of Southern Denmark) and Adrian Wilkinson (Griffith University), in which a group of international experts frame the debates around big data and analyse its impact in different sectors in practice. They also examine whether big data and the digital society can deliver on its promises.

Prof. Giorgio Baruchello of the University of Akureyri contributes therein a chapter entitled “Big Data and Professionals: What We Can Learn from Michael Polanyi”. A physician, a noted chemist, a famous social scientist and an original philosopher, Michael Polanyi  is known today primarily for his conception of tacit knowing which is presented in order to show why and how working professionals cannot be replaced in toto by machines, no matter how sophisticated these machines may be. Polanyi’s reflections on Frege’s logic and Turing’s machine are central to this discussion. As concerns professionals, Polanyi’s theory of knowledge can help us understand why and how they may be plausibly supplanted by automated systems with respect to specific activities, but not vis-à-vis their apt creation, operational assessment and responsible application.