Blog post 5: Algorithms and their consequences

Two articles are assigned this week. Find them in the Course Schedule and on Ares.

Content of the post: There are three parts. Complete all three in your post.

Part 1: How would you explain algorithms to a young child, around 8 years old, so that she could understand them? Do not quote or copy any definitions from anywhere. Use your own words and write out this explanation.

Part 2: Based on all of Wilson’s article, think about the ways that algorithms are affecting important parts of your own life. Choose and describe one distinct activity of your own for which algorithms are certainly having some effect. This must be any activity you do fairly often. Imagine and then describe what the algorithms are making possible, limiting, providing, preventing, helping and/or hurting in that activity.

  • Do NOT write about the following: Google searches, Facebook, Twitter.
  • Do NOT quote or copy from Wilson.

Part 3: Based on Crawford’s article, which one of Crawford’s 10 “scenes” resonates most with you, and why? Describe clearly how that one scene made you think of a particular experience that is familiar to you personally. Include the NUMBER of the scene you chose. Keep in mind that our topic is algorithms!

  • Do NOT quote or copy from Crawford.
  • Do NOT repeat anything you said already in Part 2.

Note: Mouffe’s idea of “agonistic pluralism” is explained on pages 79 and 83 in Crawford (2016). This is a good thing to understand, but you do not need to write about it in your post. (By the way, Mouffe is a well-known democracy theorist. I read her book The Democratic Paradox a few years ago, and it was awesome.)

Your deadline for posting is Monday, Sept. 25, at 9 a.m.

SLUG: The TITLE of your blog post about these articles must begin with the word “Algorithms.” You can add more words after that one if you want to.

If you need any clarification about this assignment, please make a comment on this post. I will answer it here.


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