October 6, 2010

IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD:

The Post-Singularity Future Of Astronomy: Astronomy could be the first discipline in which the rate of discovery by machines outpaces humans' ability to interpret it ()

"In twenty years time, it is likely that most astronomers will never go near a cutting-edge telescope," says Ray Norris at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Epping, Australia. So begins a fascinating discussion about the future of humanity's oldest science.

Norris paints an optimistic picture. For him, the future is filled with automation that will make astronomers' jobs easier. He says, for example, that in twenty years time: "I expect to be able to click on an object in a paper, and see its image at all wavelengths." This data will be provided more or less automatically by a new generation of smart telescopes that calibrate and edit data on the fly and then send it to a Virtual Observatory that anybody can access.

The job for astronomers will be to theorise about this data, to look for patterns within it and to see how it explains some problems and creates others.


Posted by Orrin Judd at October 6, 2010 6:21 AM
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