In the last week algorithms have featured heavily in the news. I've written a piece for Open Democracy reflecting on what the fall-out from the algorithmic exam results tells us. I use a song by the band Sisteray to suggest that there is already a widely held unease about the use of algorithms, which those with a faith in algorithms missed. Here are the opening few lines:
“We ain't your target market, and I ain't your target market", sang the band Sisteray on their 2018 song Algorithm Prison. They don't wish, as they put it, to be “trapped in a code". Who would? Yet Sisteray know that we are all exposed to a powerful and judgmental data gaze – as the camera zooms out at the end of their official video, the bandmembers all stare blankly at their phones, the words target market etched into the dirt on the back windscreen of their van.
You can read the rest of the article here.
Louise Amoore wrote a piece for the Guardian on how these results directly exposed this cohort of students to the politics of algorithms and predictive modelling.
The exams results have caused a broader reflection on algorithmic power. Here is a BBC piece on the range of different ways that algorithms make decisions about us.
On the subject of algorithms Ben Jacobsen has reviewed Louise Amoore’s brilliant new book Cloud Ethics: Algorithms and the Attributes of Ourselves and Others for the journal Information, Communication & Society.
There are also three new pieces on algorithms in the current issue of Big Data & Society. The first is on the consequence of using algorithms in insurance decisions, the second is on the use of algorithms in urban governance and third is an artice on the use of algorithms in content moderation.
This critical algorithm studies reading list remains an invaluable resource, with lots of different types of analyses on a range if issue relating to the implications of algorithmic processes.
Just a short newsletter this week as things ease back a little before the start of term comes into view.