The everyday life of an algorithm
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This chapter introduces the recent academic literature on algorithms and some of the popular concerns that have been expressed about algorithms in mainstream media, including the power and opacity of algorithms. The chapter suggests that, in place of opening algorithms to greater scrutiny, the academic literature tends to play on this algorithmic drama. As a counter move, this chapter suggests taking seriously what we might mean by the everyday life of the algorithm. Several approaches to everyday life are considered and a set of three analytic sensibilities developed for interrogating the everyday life of the algorithm in subsequent chapters. These sensibilities comprise: how do algorithms participate in the everyday? How do algorithms compose the everyday? And how (to what extent, through what means) does the algorithmic become the everyday? The chapter ends by setting out the structure of the rest of the book.
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