Algorithmic Practices: Emergent interoperability in the everyday

Algorithmic Practices: Emergent interoperability in the everyday

Eric Laurier (University of Edinburgh), Chris Speed (University of Edinburgh), Monika Buscher (Lancaster University)

An ever-increasing proportion of the interactions that we have with digital platforms, apps and devices are mediated according to complex algorithms. Whether it be the real time analytics that draw us into playing a game on our phone, or tailored recommendations built from our historical searching and buying habits, we structure our daily lives in response to ‘performative infrastructures’ (Thrift, 2005: 224), most of them hidden deliberately by their makers.

Yet, in responding to the summons, the predictions, the recommendations, the help, the calculations that occur as platforms try to anticipate our next actions, we are learning how they work and don’t work. In our ad hoc assemblies of devices, apps and screens we short cut and re-make algorithms. For instance, in disaster response, ad hoc interoperability and agile response are creating incentives for ‘systems of systems’ that allow locally accomplished convergence of diverse information systems, with implications for data surge capacity as well as protection and privacy (Mendonça et al 2007).

Described as “a structured approach to real-time mixing and matching of diverse ICTs to support individuals and organizations in undertaking response”, emergent interoperability maybe becoming common place in less dramatic daily practices as individuals negotiate the range of algorithms that “react and reorganize themselves around the users” (Beer 2009).

This panel invites papers and presentations that provide insight into conditions and settings in which emergent operability and interoperability occurs within society.

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