Lab07
Living with Algorithms

Convenors:
Zane Kripe (Leiden University)
Hanna Schraffenberger (Leiden Univerisity )
Location:
U7-16
Start time:
21 July, 2016 at 9:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

This lab is an experimental hands-on exploration of how can we understand and visualise 'the algorithm' and the position of algorithms within broader socio-technical systems that they are part of.

Long abstract:

Algorithms are influential participants in our everyday lives. They determine what recipes we find online and consequently, how our dinner tastes. They inform us which route will take us to the airport most quickly, and suggest what books to read or movies to watch. While algorithms shape our lives, they generally operate 'under the hood' and remain invisible. This raises questions of whether and how we make sense of the algorithms and their output: A weird book suggestion on amazon, an alternative route-suggestion by the car's navigation system, the perfect song on spotitfy's computer-generated playlist, the new faces to connect with on LinkedIn. However, it is not always clear what do we mean when we talk about 'algorithmic culture'. How can anthropologists engage with 'algorithms'? How can we communicate about the role algorithms play in society and understand the work they do without mystifying 'the algorithm' even more? This lab is aimed at hands-on exploration of algorithmic decision making in order to deconstruct what is often referred to as 'the algorithm'. Acknowledging that algorithms are part of a complex sociotechnical system together we will try to develop a process that visualises the procedural logic to which much of our online sociality and information consumption and circulation is subjected to. We invite participants who are interested in a better understanding of what is an algorithm and how to go about studying life with algorithms.