Zen and the Art of Big Data
Enter big data. Big data can tell you the entire picture since it does not care so much about the individual sub-components or causality or co-relation. Its just data. It seems to be the best shot that scientists in the Holistic camp have had in a long time in the digital age. But is it? I am excluding digital techniques in the life sciences area for one reason only - I do not fully understand the whole world of life sciences, genomics and related fields. :)
To get maximum bang for the big data buck you need to articulate the problem statement with zero ambiguity. Problem statement that is well defined and can be represented by your big data dictionary. If not, you need to refine and redefine the problem. Any thing else will not work. So, what is it that we did here? We basically ended up with the reductionist approach. I hate to disappoint the Zen crowd but it is the only way for now at least that you can get returns on your big data investment.
There are some attempts in the commercial start-up world that might change this in the future but for now I am firmly in the Reductionist camp.
Images from Wikimedia.org