2015 Advice for Your 856-Year-Old Ph.D.

(or, What's New About Getting an Old Degree?) I'm delighted to be teaching an intro seminar for all the new Ph.D. students in my department's graduate program. One of my goals is to give these students a place to talk about the environment of graduate school itself. How does getting a Ph.D. work? What do you need to know? …

Continue reading 2015 Advice for Your 856-Year-Old Ph.D.

A Research Agenda for Accountable Algorithms

What should people who are interested in accountability and algorithms be thinking about? Here is one answer: My eleven-minute remarks are now online from a recent event at NYU. I've edited them to intersperse my slides. This talk was partly motivated by the ethics work being done in the machine learning community. That is very exciting and …

Continue reading A Research Agenda for Accountable Algorithms

The Facebook “It’s Not Our Fault” Study

Today in Science, members of the Facebook data science team released a provocative study about adult Facebook users in the US "who volunteer their ideological affiliation in their profile." The study "quantified the extent to which individuals encounter comparatively more or less diverse" hard news "while interacting via Facebook’s algorithmically ranked News Feed."* The research found that …

Continue reading The Facebook “It’s Not Our Fault” Study

Should You Boycott Traditional Journals?

(Or, Should I Stay or Should I Go?) Is it time to boycott "traditional" scholarly publishing? Perhaps you are an academic researcher, just like me. Perhaps, just like me, you think that there are a lot of exciting developments in scholarly publishing thanks to the Internet. And you want to support them. And you also …

Continue reading Should You Boycott Traditional Journals?

The Google Algorithm as a Robotic Nose

Algorithms, in the view of author Christopher Steiner, are poised to take over everything.  Algorithms embedded in software are now everywhere: Netflix recommendations, credit scores, driving directions, stock trading, Google search, Facebook's news feed, the TSA's process to decide who gets searched, the Home Depot prices you are quoted online, and so on. Just a …

Continue reading The Google Algorithm as a Robotic Nose

Corrupt Personalization

("And also Bud Light.") In my last two posts I've been writing about my attempt to convince a group of sophomores with no background in my field that there has been a shift to the algorithmic allocation of attention -- and that this is important. In this post I'll respond to a student question. My favorite: "Sandvig says that algorithms …

Continue reading Corrupt Personalization

Show-and-Tell: Algorithmic Culture

Last week I tried to get a group of random sophomores to care about algorithmic culture. I argued that software algorithms are transforming communication and knowledge. The jury is still out on my success at that, but in this post I'll continue the theme by reviewing the interactive examples I used to make my point. I'm sharing them …

Continue reading Show-and-Tell: Algorithmic Culture

Reddit, Mathematically the Anti-Facebook (+ other thoughts on algorithmic culture)

(or, Are We Social Insects?) I worried that my last blog post was too short and intellectually ineffectual. But given the positive feedback I've received, my true calling may be to write top ten lists of other people's ideas, based on conferences I attend. So here is another list like that. These are my notes …

Continue reading Reddit, Mathematically the Anti-Facebook (+ other thoughts on algorithmic culture)

Are there feminist data? (+ other questions)

Here's a quick post containing eight ideas that made it into my notes from today's "Feminism, Technology, and the Body" FemTechNet dialogue at the University of Michigan. It featured  Alondra Nelson, Jessie Daniels, Lisa Nakamura, Sidonie Smith, Carrie Rentschler, Sharon Irish, and a bunch of other people I didn't write down. What a crew! Eight Ideas …

Continue reading Are there feminist data? (+ other questions)