Publication details

The mobilization of algorithms. In: Robert Seyfert und Jonathan Roberge (Eds.): Algorithmic cultures. Essays on meaning, performance and new technologies. New York: Routledge, S. 140–157.

Book chapter

Author(s): Rauer, Valentin
Year of publication: 2016

Abstract: Mobilized algorithms have societal effects; they intervene—literally—in public spaces and in the spatial pre-conditions that shape social interactions and social situations. For centuries technological devices were seen as no more than passive counter poles to active human subjects, used by them as tools, instruments, and other means to ends. This binary order is now beginning to crumble, and there are technological objects in existence that can no longer be thought of merely as passive instruments. The use of the ‘drone’ metaphor to refer to unmanned vehicles marks this transition: drones stand for a shift in which hybridity is increasingly replacing the binary order that previously divided the world into the opposing realms of subject and object. Why did the drone metaphor appear when it did—in the early 2000s? This article argues that the shift was triggered by a specific connection that enabled to translate algorithmic methods and scripts into action. Deployed in a vehicle, algorithms are no longer a means of selecting and generating information or knowledge; they are a mode of mobilizing materiality. Algorithms are thus the core mechanism by which objects are transformed into interactive agents and the drone metaphor is an attempt to flag up this change to a new public order of things.

Keywords: Algorithmus Subjekt Objekt Verantwortung Responsibility Drohnen Drones Norm

Research area: Research Area 3: The Plurality of Normative Orders: Competition, Overlapping, Interconnection
Research project:
Subject(s): sociology, political science

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