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Governing Algorithms Welcome Note

This is the sec­ond day of our con­fer­ence on gov­ern­ing algo­rithms and we’ve already been treat­ed to two out­stand­ing pre­sen­ta­tions by Bob Tarjan and Claudia Perlich, with insights into what…well, a lit­tle bit into what algo­rithms do. And today we con­tin­ue to explore the social, philo­soph­i­cal, eth­i­cal, legal sig­nif­i­cance of algorithms. 

Governing Algorithms, An Introduction

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.

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

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”

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

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?

Problematic Predictions: A Complex Question for Complex Systems

When you make a deci­sion to opt for an auto­mat­ed process, to some extent you’re already by doing so com­pro­mis­ing trans­paren­cy. Or you could say it the oth­er way around. It’s pos­si­ble to argue that if you opt for extreme­ly strict trans­paren­cy reg­u­la­tion, you’re mak­ing a com­pro­mise in terms of automation.

Occupy Algorithms: Will Algorithms Serve the 99%?

More than sort of a dis­cus­sion of what’s been said so far this is a kind of research pro­pos­al of what I would like to see hap­pen­ing at the inter­sec­tion of CS and this audience.

The Emperor’s New Codes — Reputation and Search Algorithms in the Finance Sector

The study of search, be it by peo­ple like David Stark in soci­ol­o­gy, or econ­o­mists or oth­ers, I tend to sort of see it in the tra­di­tion of a real­ly rich socio-theoretical lit­er­a­ture on the soci­ol­o­gy of knowl­edge. And as a lawyer, I tend to com­ple­ment that by think­ing if there’s prob­lems, maybe we can look to the his­to­ry of com­mu­ni­ca­tions law.

The Relevance of Algorithms

How would we begin to look at the pro­duc­tion of the algo­rith­mic? Not the pro­duc­tion of algo­rithms, but the pro­duc­tion of the algo­rith­mic as a jus­ti­fi­able, legit­i­mate mech­a­nism for knowl­edge pro­duc­tion. Where is that being estab­lished and how do we exam­ine it?

Response to Tarleton Gillespie’s The Relevance of Algorithms”

It seems to me that to con­front algo­rithms on their own terms, we may have to mod­i­fy our pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with the pol­i­tics of knowl­edge and take up an inter­est in the pol­i­tics of logis­ti­cal engineering.

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