Governing Algorithms: The Politics of Data and Decision-Making


DigiGov Lecture Series @ University of Vienna during the winter semester (Oct21-Jan22)

Algorithms are a ‘grey eminence’ in a growing number of social contexts: from communication to consumption to dating to public administration. With increasingly abundant digital data and computing power, algorithms play an ever more pervasive role in producing and certifying knowledge and in informing decision-making. Though they promise efficiency and objectivity, algorithms have also been associated with new forms of power, exclusion and manipulation.

The lecture series gave an overview of key debates on algorithmic governance at the intersection of political science, legal theory and technology studies. At the centre is the question of how society is being governed by digital technologies and how digital technologies are themselves (to be) governed. Part I of the lecture series introduced core concepts and theories; part II explored a set of empirical cases and applications. The lecture was organised by Lukas Schlögl and the members of the cross-faculty research platform ‘Governance of Digital Practices’ and was targeted at a non-specialist multi-disciplinary audience with an interest in the politics of technology. I had the pleasure to host two units: one with Peter Klimek (Med Uni Vienna) on data governance in crisis, and the other on the AMS algorithm with Astrid Mager (ÖAW) and Florian Cech (TU Vienna).

Link to lecture series: