In a sort-of related followup to yesterday’s post, there’s another recent item in Wired Science about how a computer program derived laws of motion in over a day without any knowledge of physics. It’s an example of how computing capacity is reaching a point where large amounts of data can be crunched to determine underlying principles or rules. In a reversal of traditional scientific practice, these rules would then require analysis and explanation. While yesterday’s robot example has some significant human resource implications in terms of possibly putting bench scientists out of work, such displacement doesn’t seem to be the case here. The influence of this development is more on the how of science than the who of science. However, reaching consensus over why a particular phenomena follows specific rules could easily be as contentious as reaching consensus over whether specific observations prove certain rules are operative.