Algorithmic Culture—IN PUBLIC BETA MODE
Focusing on a wide range of topics, Algorithmic Culture is currently a non-profit online magazine. Algorithmic Culture focuses on present-day issues in the form of short and long articles, essays, and bite-sized reportage and opinion pieces. We encourage all who are interested in contributing an article or essay to submit an abstract for consideration.
Algorithmic Culture derives its name from a 2010 thesis by the founding editor. It denotes a monumental stage of human activity and behavior not unlike the post-Gutenberg era with the advent of the printing press and the mass dissemination of information that followed; a period that allowed for, in a sense, the Hoi-polloi to steal fire. The printing press, as Thomas Carlyle summed, “created a whole new democratic world” by cutting costs and speeding the manufacturing process of print—in every way the birth of mass publishing and the democratization of information.
In short, comparisons can be made with the algorithm and its exponential contribution to the world, particularly in a symbiotic essence or continuation.
Innumerable algorithmic formulae have existed since the Babylonian empire, but no algorithm has had a transformative effect on society as the one employed by Google. Invented by Larry Page in 1998 for use in Google’s Internet search engine, the PageRank algorithm is the seed at the root of this our current culture, having allowed for the accumulation and the instant accessibility of boundless content and data. It should also be noted that other algorithms are being incorporated for the precision of digital tools in this computerized age to expedite and acquire what has been described as the most valuable commodity on earth: data.
Marked by inventions like the telephone and the combustion engine, the Industrial Age saw the compression of space and time. Similar societal changes have been at work during the turn of this century, and can be argued to be attributed to algorithmic optimization, which in turn has shrunk distances both in the physical and digital domain. In what has only been a short prelude to the 21st century, today’s period of transition has offered distinct implications and countless, staggering offshoots of incalculable social and cultural change. While algorithms surround us now like an invisible fog in various forms of their usage, the culture that this in turn has produced manifests itself in numerous ways.
When commenting on the affects of today’s hyper-digitized society, writer, artist and cultural critic Douglas Coupland once remarked, “I miss my pre-Internet brain.” Having arrived in various stages since the 50s, the modern realization of the Internet (in its more commercial form) was mostly accelerated by Google’s search engine at or near the turn of this century. Seemingly parlayed into every aspect of society with its data-driven ambitions, Google has even entered into lexicography as its own term; to “Google” something has entered everyday vernacular and is now defined as a verb and not the quantifiable term from which it was derived–googol.
The Internet age—or perhaps more precisely, the Algorithmic Age and the Algorithmic Culture it has produced—is both exciting and threatening as it moves in stride with an ostensibly contented society towards a great unknown. With ready-to-serve ubiquity, the almighty algorithm surrenders over to our day-to-day lives whereby many are persistently caressed if not charmed by its efficacy and swayed by its suggestive interpretations, categorizations, and conveniences. But for all its gains there is arguably a distinctive loss characterized by sociological and behavioral changes, data mining and privacy concerns, and many other future unknowable precursors including, the falsity of information and its dissemination.
Algorithmic Culture embodies much as an umbrella term, one that our editorial team will duly strive to curate with equal extended focus, encompassing much of what is relevant to today’s culture.
The founding editor has no political affiliation and considers content for publication of all stripes; however, articles that possess a particular slant are that of the author and not of this site and should occasion in the reader a cause for critical and analytical thinking if undue offense is made. We look to promote up-and-coming and established writers who provide insightful, challenging, intellectual articles and essays.
Looking to contribute? Please note, we are always looking for submissions. All submissions (abstracts and full-articles) are reviewed; however, well-researched news articles and journal entries, preferably from persons whose topics align with their professional fields are more favorably desired. Please submit abstracts to [email protected].