Symposium – Serendipity and Big Data

Symposium Overview

The concept of Serendipity describes discoveries made by accident and sagacity in which knowledge is produced unexpectedly while in the pursuit of an unrelated finding (Copeland, 2019). Serendipitous discoveries have attracted increasing attention from areas such as philosophy of science and computer science because of the extensive use of Big Data analytics brought about by advances in statistics and artificial intelligence. The possibility of mining and analyzing massive amounts of a wide variety of data, from different sources, generated and processed in high speed, has contributed to a growing automation of the process of scientific discovery. In this scenario, relevant questions are: What could be the possible epistemological, pragmatic, and ethical implications of employing Big Data analytics to the process of serendipitous discoveries? Would Big Data analytics enable or constrain serendipitous discoveries?

We invite you to reflect upon these questions in the symposium on Serendipity and Big Data. Note that the symposium is not restricted to approaches that encompass both Serendipity and Big Data. We welcome both theoretical and empirical approaches that deal with Serendipity and/or Big Data approaches to scientific discovery. The entire symposium will be held online through live video conferencing February 22-26, 2021. We hope this symposium will provide an engaging platform in which to learn and discuss ideas and, hopefully, to foster serendipitous discoveries.

Symposium Program Chair: Mariana Vitti Rodrigues;
Serendipity Society Symposia Chair: Wendy Ross