What algorithms want: imagination in the age of computing

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Publisher:
MIT Press,
Pub. Date:
[2017]
Language:
English
Description

The gap between theoretical ideas and messy reality, as seen in Neal Stephenson, Adam Smith, and Star Trek .

We depend on--we believe in--algorithms to help us get a ride, choose which book to buy, execute a mathematical proof. It's as if we think of code as a magic spell, an incantation to reveal what we need to know and even what we want. Humans have always believed that certain invocations--the marriage vow, the shaman's curse--do not merely describe the world but make it. Computation casts a cultural shadow that is shaped by this long tradition of magical thinking. In this book, Ed Finn considers how the algorithm--in practical terms, "a method for solving a problem"--has its roots not only in mathematical logic but also in cybernetics, philosophy, and magical thinking.

Finn argues that the algorithm deploys concepts from the idealized space of computation in a messy reality, with unpredictable and sometimes fascinating results. Drawing on sources that range from Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash to Diderot's Encyclopédie , from Adam Smith to the Star Trek computer, Finn explores the gap between theoretical ideas and pragmatic instructions. He examines the development of intelligent assistants like Siri, the rise of algorithmic aesthetics at Netflix, Ian Bogost's satiric Facebook game Cow Clicker , and the revolutionary economics of Bitcoin. He describes Google's goal of anticipating our questions, Uber's cartoon maps and black box accounting, and what Facebook tells us about programmable value, among other things.

If we want to understand the gap between abstraction and messy reality, Finn argues, we need to build a model of "algorithmic reading" and scholarship that attends to process, spearheading a new experimental humanities.

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9780262035927
9780262338844
9780262338837
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Grouped Work ID4283fa3d-ba83-2e7d-b028-9532e528be92
Grouping Titlewhat algorithms want imagination in the age of computing
Grouping Authorfinn ed
Grouping Categorybook
Last Grouping Update2019-02-15 01:09:15AM
Last Indexed2019-11-18 06:36:29AM

Solr Details

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ProQuest Ebook Central (ASU):ocn974915437eBookeBookEnglishThe MIT Press, [2017]1 online resource (viii, 257 pages) : illustrations.
ils:.b58224300BookBooksEnglishMIT Press, [2017]pages cm.
ProQuest Ebook Central (ASU):EBC4819947eBookeBookEnglishThe MIT Press, 2017.1 online resource (267 pages) : illustrations
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subject_facetAlgorithms -- Social aspects
Computers -- Social aspects
Electronic books
Information technology -- Social aspects
SOCIAL SCIENCE / General
title_displayWhat algorithms want : imagination in the age of computing
title_fullWhat algorithms want : imagination in the age of computing / Ed Finn
title_shortWhat algorithms want
title_subimagination in the age of computing
topic_facetAlgorithms
Computers
Information technology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / General
Social aspects