Conference Documentation: Algorithmic Regimes and Generative Strategies

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Here are the videos of all the talks and discussions at the Algorithmic Regimes and Generative Strategies - On Regulatory Politics of Code and Machines. Friday, September 25. 2015, University of Technology ViennaConference, Vienna, 25.09.2015

Algorithmic Regimes Conference Opening

Felix Stalder and Konrad Becker: Opening and Welcome


Software will take Over the World. Peter Purgathofer

Software, and the algorithms it encapsulates, turns out to be the ultimate meta-technology. It can be argued that everything will be software, even beyond simple algorithmic thinking. The emergent, post-algorithmic behavior of software is already so complex that it cannot be explained any more by simple logic. Without any caution, researchers develop software that probably will one day take over the world. This presentation will discuss several cases and applications to illustrate what software can do today.


Rationality, Reason, and Formal Rules: Reflections from the Cold War , Thomas Sturm

What can it mean to be rational, especially in a world that seemed to be on the brink of thermonuclear destruction? During the Cold War, this fundamental question engaged the sharpest minds. Which theories of rationality could be invoked to explain human behavior, especially in the domains of international relations, war, and military strategy? And could one develop theories also for the resolution of political problems, thus providing clear normative guidance? Could the rules be given an axiomatic structure and applied to various domains of science and society in a strictly determinate fashion? Today’s fragmentation in the study of rationality undermines the Cold War hope for a unified concept of rationality. This also reveals how more traditional notions of “reason”, understood as mindful deliberation over when and how to apply a rule, have returned to the scene.

REASON AND GOVERNANCE - Response and Debate, Thomas Sturm, Konrad Becker

Response by Nikolaus Lehner and Q&A on REASON AND GOVERNANCE with Konrad Becker


All-go-rithmic, No-go-rithmic – Problems of Predictive Policing Reinhard Kreissl

The idea of using historical data about crime and other social processes to improve resource allocation of police forces has been one of the hot topics in policing discourse over the last years. While system providers present their success stories, pointing to decreasing crime rates in areas where their tools were implemented by local police forces, the evidence is not convincing. Problems of predictive policing will be discussed from a technical and data perspective and from a theoretical and conceptual perspective to demonstrate the limits and un-intended side effects of this new approach to doing police work.

Projective Cultures: The case of Quantified Self and Health 2.0 Btihaj Ajana

Recently, the use of algorithms, data and metric technologies has invaded many spheres of production, knowledge and expertise. From marketing and advertising to healthcare and bioinformatics, various fields are currently exploring the possible benefits and challenges pertaining to the collection and usage of large data sets for different purposes and contexts. In my contribution I will consider some of the examples whereby data and their analytics are being deployed for the purpose of predicting certain activities and pre-empting future events. In doing so, I will discuss some of the ethical issues pertaining to such data-driven practices, focusing on issues of categorization and profiling, the projective and predictive nature of data science and its approach to the future, and the implications vis-à-vis understandings and practices of identity. Following these, I invoke the philosophy of Jean-Luc Nancy by way of offering alternative signposts for reconceiving the future beyond technocracy and prediction.

PREDICTION AND MODELLING - Debate Reinhard Kreissl, Btihaj Ajana, Katja Mayer

Algorithmic Regimes - Panel with Reinhard Kreissl and Btihaj Ajana - hosted by Katja Mayer


Omnipresence, Invisibility and Classification: The Power and Politics of Making Data Intelligible, Francesca Musiani

The issue of information classification and organization has perhaps never been as relevant as in our current times of “information overload” and internet-mediated access to the vast majority of the information surrounding us. The algorithms embedded in the information and communication technologies we use daily are (also) artefacts of governance, arrangements of power and “politics by other means”(Latour). Examples drawing from the field of Internet services and from recent attempts at “regulation by algorithms” (e.g. the French loi sur le renseignement) will serve as empirical points of entry into a discussion of the power and politics inherent in “making data intelligible” in the era of information pervasiveness, in terms of both institutions’ regulation of algorithms, and algorithms’ regulation of our society.

Data Subjects, Olga Goriunova

This talk will explore the return or birth of the subject in the context of the computational, which produces something that can be addressed as a digital subject. I propose to focus on some of the processes through which digital subjects are constructed out of data by patterning and modelling, put in relation to each other, acted upon and become enactive themselves. I plan in particular to focus on Facebook’s look-alike model to explore some of the emerging machines of indexicality.

Francesca Musiani, Olga Goriunova, Felix Stalder

Algorithmic Regimes Panel on Regulation and Agency with Francesca Musiani and Olga Goriunova hosted by Felix Stalder


NO FUTURE - Dividual Lines Against the Appropriation of our Present becoming by Algorithmic Futures, Gerald Raunig

Those who fell prey to the future, seek advice from the soothsayers” , wrote a leftist intellectual in 1940, and one could add today: advice from brokers, economists, and analysts. Not just the colonization of our future by today’s soothsayers, but a brutal future of algorithms colonizing our past and our present. And as the algorithms traverse individuals with their dividual lines, we have to invent dividual lines, too, and bundle them into molecular revolution.

Acephalous Algorithms: Alternative Forms of Life in Video Games, Paolo Ruffino

The gaming industry has recently started using algorithms for the generation of 3D game environments. The game “No Man’s Sky”, not yet released, attracted attention since its first announcement in 2014 because of its procedurally generated online environment. I will draw on the work of Roger Caillois, who has looked at the ways in which we make sense of the relation between nature and ourselves. His ‘diagonal’ approach to the rationalization of nature and life, which brought him to work within the Surrealist movement in the late ’30s in France, could provide an alternative perspective on the practice of using algorithms for the reproduction of living environments

Algorithmic Regimes Panel on GENERATIVE REALITIES AND ALTERNATIVE MODELS with Paolo Ruffino and Gerald Raunig, hosted by Konrad Becker

Algorithmic Regimes - Closing Remarks Felix Stalder

Short Conference Summary