Algorithms are increasingly invoked as powerful entities that control, govern, sort, regulate, and shape everything from financial trades to news media. Nevertheless, the nature and implications of such orderings are far from clear. What exactly is it that algorithms “do”? What is the role attributed to “algorithms” in these arguments? How can we turn the “problem of algorithms” into an object of productive inquiry?

This conference sets out to explore the recent rise of algorithms as an object of interest in scholarship, policy, and practice. Taking a fresh view on the current wave of interest in the topic, we aim to discuss themes such as:

  • the very idea of “algorithms” as a subject and object of analysis
  • issues of methodology and the kind of knowledge claims that come with algorithms
  • the rhetoric of problems and solutions, in which algorithms are mobilized
  • questions of agency and automation
  • conceptions of secrecy or inscrutability
  • normative concerns
  • rules and regulations surrounding development and implementation

The conference is over now, but you can still sign up for the Mailing list and enjoy the various Resources we assembled.

Watch the talks

The video recordings from Governing Algorithms are now available. Catch up with talks and comments by Paul Dourish, Tarleton Gillespie, Lucas Introna, Evgeny Morozov, Frank Pasquale, Claudia Perlich, Robert Tarjan, and many more.

The full conference is also available on the NYU-MCC Vimeo channel.

Conference updates

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  • Provocation Piece. This is a short essay we wrote in preparation for the conference. Drawing together current writing and thinking on the topic, it poses a series of questions intended to stimulate discussion.