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.
This is why it matters whether algorithms can be agonist, given their roles in governance. When the logic of algorithms is understood as autocratic, we’re going to feel powerless and panicked because we can’t possibly intervene. If we assume that they’re deliberately democratic, we’ll assume an Internet of equal agents, rational debate, and emerging consensus positions, which probably doesn’t sound like the Internet that many of us actually recognize.