The Right Algorithm

With Willian Fernandes Araújo (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS/Brasil) Visiting Researcher at Internet Interdisciplinay Institute (IN3-UOC)

27 October 12-14h
Sala 201
IN3 Castelldefels

The Construction of the Right Algorithm: A discussion of algorithmic agency in the Facebook News Feed

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, during an open question session on his site, gave a very interesting answer about how he understands human social relationships: something that probably could be explained by a fundamental mathematical law “that governs the balance of who and what we all care about” (2015). The understanding that human relationships have a mathematical basis is connected to how Facebook constructs what I have called the ‘right algorithm’: a data-driven mechanism named News Feed that seeks to deliver “the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them” (2013). The notion of algorithm is at the core of the discussions about these so-called ‘smarter’ digital environments. It is part of a rising sociotechnical phenomenon: the usage of automated mechanisms in digital media as key actors for a new economy of attention. It has been called “personalization” and represents a complex data-driven process based on algorithmic systems. These mechanisms are associated with more “intelligent” services that deliver a “better” user experience. Using some preliminary observations from my research on the Facebook News Feed, the discussion will address important questions such as how to approach algorithmic system actions ethnographically; how theoretical decisions modulate the ethnographic description, and which consequences are relevant for research.

 

The seminar will be held in Spanish.

To confirm your attendance:
Isabel Carol Ciurana icarol[at]uoc.edu

 

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