Tech and Politics

Andreas Jungherr


2023-12-04 23 min Season 2 Episode 5 Andreas Jungherr

Description & Show Notes

Algorithms are sets of steps by which to solve pre-defined tasks. Today the term appears predominantly in connection with computing. Algorithms allow computers to perform tasks. They are crucial in the advances of computer-enabled analysis and automation.

The uses of algorithms vary widely. Algorithms can identify patterns in data, surfacing hidden connections between phenomena or actions. Similarly, algorithms can also be used to automate actions. Based on rules learned from past data, algorithms can automatically present people with specific options.

Algorithms thus help us understand the world better and interact with it more efficiently. But algorithms are also a source of worry. How can we be sure that patterns identified from data documenting the past should be replicated in the present or future? How can we know what the algorithm learns from data? And how can we be sure that the actions taken by algorithms conform with the goals, with which we have designed and deployed them?