Category: algorithms

Book Review: The Quirks of Digital Culture by David Beer

In The Quirks of Digital Culture, David Beer provides a patchwork of quirky vignettes that together create a representative picture of the cultural environment in which we now live, showing how digital culture offers a means of access, insight and possibility while also bringing the payoff of surveillance, manipulation and a sense of inescapability. Ignas Kalpokas highly … Continued

Book Review: Are Filter Bubbles Real? by Axel Bruns

As references to echo chambers and filter bubbles become ubiquitous in contemporary discourse, Axel Bruns offers a riposte in Are Filter Bubbles Real?, which questions the existence of these phenomena. While not convinced by all of the author’s arguments, Ignas Kalpokas welcomes the book as a must-read for those looking to critically reflect on some of the assumptions surrounding social … Continued

Should we use AI to make us quicker and more efficient researchers?

Paper Digest is a new research tool that uses artificial intelligence to produce summaries of research papers. In this post David Beer tests out this tool on his own research and reflects on what the increasing penetration of AI into cognition and research tells us about the current state of academic research.  When you arrive at Paper Digest you are welcomed […]

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 […]