[NetBehaviour] Algorithms and Control.

netbehaviour netbehaviour at furtherfield.org
Fri Jan 11 14:28:37 CET 2013

Algorithms and Control.

By Robert Jackson.

Algorithms have become a hot topic of political lament in the last few 
years. The literature is expansive; Christopher Steiner's upcoming book 
Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World attempts to lift 
the lid on how human agency is largely helpless in the face of precise 
algorithmic bots that automate the majority of daily life and business. 
So too, is this matter being approached historically, with Chris Bishop 
and John MacCormick's Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future, outlining 
the specific construction and broad use of these procedures (such as 
Google's powerful PageRank algorithm, and others used in string 
searching, (i.e regular expressions, cryptography and compression, 
Quicksort for database management). The Fast Fourier Transform, first 
developed in 1965, is perhaps the most widely used algorithm in digital 
communications, which is responsible for breaking down irregular signals 
into their pure sine-wave components. But how are we to critically 
analyse what the specific global dependences of algorithmic 
infrastructure are doing to the world?


Robert Jackson, is currently studying an MPhil/PhD at the University of 
Plymouth, in the research group KURATOR/Arts and Social Technologies, 
Faculty of Arts and Media (formally Faculty of Technology). His thesis 
focuses on Algorithmic Artworks, Art Formalism and Speculative Realist 
Ontologies, looking at digital artworks which operate as configurable 
units rather than networked systems, and attain independent autonomy 
themselves which are capable of aesthetics, rather than any supposed 
primary function as communicative, rational tools.


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