EASA2016: Anthropological legacies and human futures

Living with Algorithms
Location U7-16
Date and Start Time 21 July, 2016 at 09:00
Sessions 1


  • Zane Kripe (Leiden University) email
  • Hanna Schraffenberger (Leiden Univerisity ) email

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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.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


The panel has no papers to display. Only accepted papers will be shown here.