Algorithms, Performativity and Governability

Open Discussion on Lucas Introna’s Algorithms, Performativity and Governability”

presented by Lisa Gitelman, Lucas Introna, Matthew Jones

I just want to be clear that I’m not say­ing that the details of the algo­rithms are irrel­e­vant. In a way they can mat­ter very much, and you know, in a cer­tain cir­cum­stance, in a cer­tain sit­u­at­ed use, it might mat­ter sig­nif­i­cant­ly what the algo­rithm does but we can’t say that a pri­ori. So we need to both open up the algo­rithms, we need to under­stand them as much as pos­si­ble, but we must not be seduced to believe that if we under­stand them there­fore we know what they do.

Comments on Lucas Introna’s Algorithms, Performativity and Governability”

presented by Matthew Jones

We can’t gov­ern through knowl­edge, prop­er­ly speak­ing. Even if many algo­rithms are trade secrets, Lucas and oth­ers have remind­ed us near­ly all would not be sur­veil­l­able by human beings, even if we had access to their source code. We have to begin what­ev­er process from this fun­da­men­tal lack of knowl­edge. We need to start from the same epis­te­mo­log­i­cal place that many of the pro­duc­ers of algo­rithms do.

Algorithms, Performativity and Governability

presented by Lucas Introna

I think this ques­tion what do algo­rithms do,” which points to the ques­tion of agency, I think is an inap­pro­pri­ate way to ask the ques­tion. I think we should rather ask the ques­tion, what do algo­rithms become in sit­u­at­ed practices?