So how did this start? Actually all of us—Solon, Sophie, and many other fellows and research, not just at PRG, the Information Law Institute, but also at MCC—we’ve been studying computation, automation, and control in different forms for quite a long time. But it was only at the end of last summer really that we realized that there’s this new notion of the algorithm gaining currency.
I start the story in 1819 rather than 1980. And that allows me to do some very specific work, which is to talk about what I think of as the deep social programming of the tools that we’re now using in public services across the United States.