Menu Home

Relying on algorithms for biosecurity

what extent will we rely on algorithms to sustain social distancing as we move into an intermediate phase of biosecure vigilance rather than biosecurity crisis? What would this reliance exclude? Can we develop collective habits of coordinating ourselves in shared spaces to the same degree if algorithms are orchestrating the underlying dynamics of the process?

The birth of machinology

My notes on Rahwan, I. et al. (2019) Machine Behaviour. Nature, 568, 477–486 The proliferation of intelligent machines, ranging from machine learning systems through to their embodiment in robotics, raises the question of how their behaviour should be studied and understood. In this agenda setting paper, the team of authors suggest this […]

Organisational sociology and algorithms

I’m saving this here to come back to because I’m very interested in this theme. Call for Workshop Participation Algorithms on the Shop Floor: Data-driven Technologies in Organizational Context Deadline for applications: April 19, 2019 Workshop date: June 14, 2019 in NYC at Data & Society <http://datasociety.net/&gt; Application link: http://datasociety.net/algorithms-on-the-shop-floor <http://datasociety.net/algorithms-on-the-shop-floor&gt; For […]

Algorithms and institutional isomorphism

My notes on Caplan, R., & Boyd, D. (2018). Isomorphism through algorithms: Institutional dependencies in the case of Facebook. Big Data & Society, 5(1), 2053951718757253. Are data-driven technologies leading organisations to take on shared characteristics? This is the fascinating question addressed in this paper by Robyn Caplan and danah boyd […]

Cultural representations of finance 

From One Market Under God, by Thomas Frank, loc 2230: For all the revulsion expressed by books like Liar’s Poker and Barbarians at the Gate, the dominant note was starstruck wonderment at these “masters of the universe,” at their millions and their manses, at their Gulfstream jets and Mercedes cars, […]

The Dispositions of the Metricised

In our discussion of metrics systems, it’s easy to treat subjectivity as a cipher, regarding people as passively moulded by algorithms or blindly governed by the incentives that operate through the institutionalisation of the metrics. My objection to the former is not the claim that people are shaped by metrics, but rather the […]

Algorithmic pricing predates online retail

From Misbehaving, by Richard Thaler, pg 134. Social norms hindered it in this instance. Why could the same not true be true of online retail?  The CEO of Coca-Cola also discovered the hard way that violating the norms of fairness can backfire. Douglas Ivester, aged fifty-two, appeared to be on his […]

the rise of human centred data science at facebook

An absolutely fascinating account of developments in the newsfeed algorith at Facebook since its introduction: Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s 32-year-old director of product for news feed, is Alison’s less technical counterpart—a “fuzzie” rather than a “techie,” in Silicon Valley parlance. He traffics in problems and generalities, where Alison deals in solutions […]

the micro-sociology of algorithmic authority 

From InfoGlut, by Mark Andrejevic, loc 601: The fictional portrayals envision a contradictory world in which individual actions can be predicted with certainty and effectively thwarted. They weave oracular fantasies about perfect foresight. Predictive analytics, by contrast, posits a world in which probabilities can be measured and resources allocated accordingly. […]