Michael commented on Adrienne O Mahoney’s EDC lifestream – ‘Algorithmic Play Artefact’

Algorithmic Play Artefact

Michael Wolfindale:

Great artefact, Adrienne, and really like the annotated screencast format – works brilliantly with the subject matter!

Fascinating (and perhaps sobering!) how you pinned down aspects which were influenced by activity outside of your Instagram account, such as your search history. Reminds me of a quote from Seaver (2013: 10) I came across which builds on the “black box metaphor” to argue that ‘these algorithmic systems are not standalone little boxes, but massive, networked ones with hundreds of hands reaching into them’:

Seaver, N., 2013. Knowing Algorithms. Presented at the Media in Transitions 8, Cambridge, MA. Available from: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55eb004ee4b0518639d59d9b/t/55ece1bfe4b030b2e8302e1e/1441587647177/seaverMiT8.pdf [Accessed 11 Mar 2020].

It’s great that you’ve discussed multiple algorithmic systems and the wider context in that sense since, as you also note, it is all too often the case that a handful of big tech companies own many of these different “apps” (such as Facebook owning Instagram). As you draw on from Williamson (2017), the business models, entrepreneurial cultures and commercial and political agendas are all a huge factor here. The Silicon Valley model and associated ideologies are aspects that also came to the fore in my brief “play” with Coursera. Really clear and thorough conclusions here!

Great work – really enjoyed it!

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