This is Not a (Unix) Pipe: Infrastructuration and Algorithmic Systems

Speaker: Prof Paul Edwards # Stanford University

27th May 2019

11:00 - 13:00

Room G10 - Drummond Library (adjacent to Old Surgeons' Hall)

Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation Occasional Seminar:

This is Not a (Unix) Pipe: Infrastructuration and Algorithmic Systems

In the age of “platforms” using machine learning, neural networks, and other forms of artificial intelligence, interactions among people and algorithmic systems are characterized by radical complexity, opacity, and the radical otherness of machine logic. These principles limit the ability of data subjects, governments, and software developers alike to understand, regulate, and control algorithmic systems — despite the fact that some platforms have acquired infrastructure-like embeddedness, transparency, reach, and scope. As with other forms of infrastructure, platforms are shaping human behavior, thought, and action patterns. 

Paul Edwards is William J. Perry Fellow in International Security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford as well as his established position as Professor of Information and History, University of Michigan. His latest book is A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (MIT Press, 2010).

All welcome. No charge. Coffee available from 10.30am. 

Paul will be staying for the rest of the day for research meetings. Contact Robin Williams for further information (by email