Tech and Politics

Andreas Jungherr

Algorithms in politics and society

2022-05-31 25 min Season 1 Episode 11 Andreas Jungherr

Description & Show Notes

In this episode, we will talk about algorithms, what they are, how they work, and concerns they create once applied broadly and in scale across society.

A computer algorithm provides a computationally executable series of steps with the goal of solving a given task or problem. Algorithms are shaping people's option spaces in various areas of social life. This has given rise to broad concerns that are part of public debate but also of academic research. Concerns focus on the opaqueness of the uses of algorithms, their inner workings, and their effects; the fairness of their outcomes; and fears of unintended consequences once algorithms are rolled out in scale. This makes algorithms, their uses, mechanisms, and effects a prominent topic for social scientists engaged in understanding the use of digital technology in society.


00:00 - Introduction
00:21 - Algorithms
10:57 - Concerns
11:48 - Opaqueness
15:34 - Fairness
19:38 - Unintended consequences
24:26 - Conclusion

Script to episode with references and further readings: