Category: algorithms

Book Review: Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble

In Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, Safiya Umoja Noble draws on her research into algorithms and bias to show how online search results are far from neutral, but instead replicate and reinforce racist and sexist beliefs that reverberate in the societies in which search engines operate. This timely and important book sheds light on the ways that search […]

What a fossil revolution reveals about the history of “big data”

Improved technologies have allowed faster and more powerful statistical analysis and changed how we “see” data. It’s now taken for granted that the best way to understand large, complex phenomena is by crunching the numbers via computers and projecting the results as visual summaries. To David Sepkoski, that’s not a bad thing, but it does pose some challenges. The complexity […]

Without urgent action big and open data may widen existing inequalities and social divides

The juncture of big and open data informs areas as diverse as artificial intelligence, agriculture, and public health, and promises to transform our ability to tackle global challenges. However, Sabina Leonelli highlights three major concerns over how big and open data are currently managed: the unsustainable nature of the digital data landscape; the quality and credibility of the data themselves; […]

The future for academic publishers lies in navigating research, not distributing it

The world of scholarly publishing is in upheaval. As the open science and open research movements rapidly gain momentum, the access restrictions and paywalls of many publishers put them at odds with growing parts of the research community. Mattias Björnmalm suggests there is one way for publishers to once again become central, valued members of the research community: by pivoting […]

Book Review: Once Upon an Algorithm: How Stories Explain Computing by Martin Erwig

In Once Upon an Algorithm: How Stories Explain Computing, Martin Erwig aims to spread an interest in computer science by drawing parallels between processes of computation and the problem-solving stories found in popular culture, including the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel and the film Groundhog Day. While some of the content does demand close attention, the concrete examples make this generally an accessible and […]

Book Review: We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of Our Digital Selves by John Cheney-Lippold

In We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of Our Digital Selves, John Cheney-Lippold examines how algorithms increasingly interpret and influence our behaviour. With the author concluding with some pragmatic suggestions for challenging the digital status quo, Daniel Zwi welcomes the book for both capably elucidating the problem of algorithmic regulation and forearming us to tackle this issue. This review originally appeared on LSE Review of […]

Research Resilience: Why academics and funders alike should care about #RIPTwitter

Twitter is under close scrutiny these days with news that its timeline could be subject to further algorithmic control. Farida Vis looks at what such dramatic changes could mean for research. There is a great need for both funding councils and researchers to better understand the potential impact of these data and platform politics. Strategies must be developed to encourage lesser reliance on […]

Web analytics in the workplace: What Amazon and web newsrooms have in common – and where they differ.

The Politics of Data series continues with an investigation of how data-driven performance measurements operate in the workplace. What can we learn from the case of clicks in online news? Drawing from her ethnographic research shadowing web journalists, Angèle Christin illuminates the ambiguous and rather vague sets of meanings associated with clicks and web metrics that have become so omnipresent in online journalism. […]

Mapping Words: Lessons Learned From a Decade of Exploring the Geography of Text

The following is a guest post by Kalev Hannes Leetaru, Senior Fellow, George Washington University Center for Cyber & Homeland Security. It is hard to imagine our world today without maps. Though not the first online mapping platform, the debut of Google Maps a decade ago profoundly reshaped the role of maps in everyday life, […]

Book Review: The Formula: How Algorithms Solve all our Problems… and Create More by Luke Dormehl

Amidst the confusion and the hype around big data, Luke Dormehl’s The Formula charts the growing influence of algorithms in modern society and how they affect our daily lives. Michael Veale finds that this book’s strength lies in providing background on the personalities behind the hype. He recommends it to people new to the field looking for a basic recent history, and to those looking […]