The Tyranny of Algorithms


Algorithms are learning more and more about us while we seem to understand them less and less. Somewhere in the past few years we ceded some of our individual autonomy to ostensibly life-enriching algorithmic intelligence. Computational systems regularly tell us where to go, whom to date, what to be entertained by and what to think about (to name just a few examples). With every click, every app, every terms of service agreement, we buy into the idea that big data, ubiquitous sensors and various forms of machine-learning can model and beneficially regulate our lives.

Algorithms drive the stock market, compose and curate our music, approve loans, drive cars, write news articles, and make hiring and firing decisions. Are they in charge?

Join Future Tense for lunch in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015 to explore the underlying tensions between law, technology, and culture in a moment where algorithms are beginning to define the boundaries of our own personal media bubbles.

Follow the discussion online using #TyrannyOfAlgorithms and follow us @FutureTenseNow.


David Auerbach 
New America Fellow, software engineer, and writer for Slate 

Ian Bogost 
Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies 
and Professor of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology 

Nick Diakopoulos 
College of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park 

Jenny Finkel 
Machine Learning Engineer, Mixpanel, Inc. 

Ed Finn 
Director of the Center for Science and the Imagination, Arizona State University 

Jennifer Golbeck 
Associate Professor, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, College Park

Lee Konstantinou 
Science fiction writer and Assistant Professor of English, 
University of Maryland, College Park 

Gideon Lichfield
Fellow, Data & Society Research Institute and Global News Editor, Quartz 

Laura Moy
Senior Policy Counsel, Open Technology Institute, New America

Christine Rosen 
Future Tense Fellow and Senior editor, The New Atlantis 

Jacqueline Wernimont  
Author, How to Do Things with Numbers: Histories of Quantified Cultures and Lives; and Assistant Professor of English, Arizona State University 

Future Tense is a partnership of Arizona State UniversityNew America and Slate.