More parts than elements

MORE PARTS THAN ELEMENTS. HOW DATABASES MULTIPLY (Mackenzie, 2010)

“Databases can be understood as the pre-eminent contemporary doing, organising, configuring and performing thing-and-people multiples in sets. Participation, belonging, inclusion and membership: many of the relations that make up the material social life of people and things can be formally apprehended in terms of set-like multiples rendered as datasets. Mid-twentieth century database design derived different ways of gathering, sorting, ordering, and searching data from mathematical set theory. The dominant database architecture, the relational database management system (RDMS), can be seen as a specific technological enactment of the mathematics of set theory. More recent developments such as grids, clouds and other data intensive architectures apprehend ever greater quantities of data” 

 

 

Life in code and software

LIFE IN CODE AND SOFTWARE. MEDIATED LIFE IN A COMPLEX COMPUTATIONAL ECOLOGY (edited by David Berry, 2012)

 

“This book explores the relationship between living, code and software. Technologies of code and software increasingly make up an important part of our urban environment. Indeed, their reach stretches to even quite remote areas of the world. Life in Code and Software introduces and explores the way in which code and software are becoming the conditions of possibility for human living, crucially forming a computational ecology, made up of disparate software ecologies, that we inhabit”. 

 

CRITICAL QUESTIONS FOR BIG DATA

CRITICAL QUESTIONS FOR BIG DATA (boyd & crawford, 2012)

“The era of Big Data has begun. Computer scientists, physicists, economists, mathematicians political scientists, bio-informaticists, sociologists, and other scholars are clamoring for access to the massive quantities of information produced by and about people, things, and their interactions. Diverse groups argue about the potential benefits and costs of analyzing genetic sequences, social media interactions, health records, phone logs, government records, and other digital traces left by people. Significant questions emerge. Will large-scale search data help us create better tools, services, and public goods? Or will it usher in a new wave of privacy incursions and invasive marketing? Will data analytics help us understand online communities and political movements? Or will it be used to track protesters and suppress speech?”

Critical questions for big data

 

ALGORITHMIC IDEOLOGY

ALGORITHMIC IDEOLOGY (Mager, 2012)

“This article investigates how the new spirit of capitalism gets inscribed in the fabric of search algorithms by way of social practices. Drawing on the tradition of the social construction of technology (SCOT) and 17 qualitative expert interviews it discusses how search engines and their revenue models are negotiated and stabilized in a network of actors and interests, website providers and users first and foremost. It further shows how corporate search engines and their capitalist ideology are solidified in a socio-political context characterized by a techno-euphoric climate of innovation and a politics of privatization. This analysis provides a valuable contribution to contemporary search engine critique mainly focusing on search engines’ business models and societal implications. It shows that a shift of perspective is needed from impacts search engines have on society towards social practices and power relations involved in the construction of search engines to renegotiate search engines and their algorithmic ideology in the future”.

Algorithmic Ideology

THE RELEVANCE OF ALGORITHMS

THE RELEVANCE OF ALGORITHMS (Gillespie, 2012)

“Algorithms play an increasingly important role in selecting what information is considered most relevant to us, a crucial feature of our participation in public life. Search engines help us navigate massive databases of information, or the entire web. Recommendation algorithms map our preferences against others, suggesting new or forgotten bits of culture for us to encounter. Algorithms manage our interactions on social networking sites, highlighting the news of one friend while excluding another’s. Algorithms designed to calculate what is “hot” or “trending” or “most discussed” skim the cream from the seemingly boundless chatter that’s on offer. Together, these algorithms not only help us find information, they provide a means to know what there is to know and how to know it, to participate in social and political discourse, and to familiarize ourselves with the publics in which we participate. They are now a key logic governing the flows of information on which we depend, with the “power to enable and assign meaningfulness, managing how information is perceived by users, the ‘distribution of the sensible.'” (Langlois 2012)

The relevance of algorithms