The Oracle of Big Data – Prophecies without Prophets


  • Bruno Gransche



The need for foreknowledge intensifies and a prophetic promise of today’s palm readers causes us wet palms: letting the world speak for itself. Big Data comes with the promise of enabling people to listen to that speaking world and of gaining accurate foreknowledge by Big Data predictions. The uncertainty of our modern, complex world overstrains our present coping capabilities, causing a feeling of slipping off a slippery slope, which in turn causes a need for increasing our own foreknowledge. Part of the Big Data promise is to grant better foreknowledge by overcoming the wrongness of scientific theory or causation assumptions. But thus, people have no other option than to believe in these results and perform their actions in good faith. This makes Big Data based outcomes a matter of faith. This article argues that Big Data based outcomes can be seen as today’s oracle, as prophecies without prophets and reflects on the consequences of that perspective.




How to Cite

Gransche, Bruno. 2016. “The Oracle of Big Data – Prophecies Without Prophets”. The International Review of Information Ethics 24 (May). Edmonton, Canada.