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Humanist Archives: Nov. 30, 2019, 9:49 a.m. Humanist 33.445 - events: actors, logics & cultures behind it all

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 445.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2019-11-30 09:31:18+00:00
        From: Jakob Svensson 
        Subject: CFP - Behind Data & Algorithms, Malmö 23-24 April 2020

Behind Data and Algorithms.
Call for papers attending to the actors, logics and/or cultures behind
digital technologies

23-24 April, 2020, Malmö, Sweden

A conference co-organized by Malmö University Data Society research
program (www.mau.se/en/research/research-programmes/data-society)
& the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society in Berlin
(www.weizenbaum-institut.de). Funded by the Swedish Foundation for 
Humanities and Social Sciences (www.rj.se/en) 
and the above organizing institutions


Data and algorithms are on the agenda today. Examples are abundant: How
Facebook manually controls the algorithms by tweaking them, the debate
whether Amazon is homophobic, whether Google is racist, or the scandal
over Microsoft's chat program Tay that quickly turned to obscene and
inflammatory language after having interacted with Twitter users.
Studies have also found gender biases as a consequence of image search
algorithms and that black people are not recognized as humans in
face-recognition algorithms. And then we have the whole Cambridge
Analytica scandal and the debate on how data and algorithms can be used
to manipulate elections.

There is much need for a socio-cultural approach to research on data and
algorithms, by focusing on the actors and their culture(s) behind these
technologies. Engineered by humans, data and algorithms embody rules,
ideals and imaginations. They are encoded with human intentions that may
or may not be fulfilled. Studying humans, logics and culture behind data
and algorithms is therefore pivotal if we intend to have an informed
discussion of power, and shifting relations of power, in contemporary
data society. Here we draw upon the argument that algorithms should be
understood as massive and networked, sometimes with hundreds of hands
reaching into them, tuning, tweaking and experimenting with them. Still,
computer programmers, software engineers and their circumstances have
largely been ignored in empirical studies. In this conference we
therefore aim to gather researchers exploring questions such as what
logic, or combination of logics, informs the practices of designing and
programming algorithms. And how the data that these algorithms base
their calculation, is constructed?

We seek papers discussing any of the following exemplary questions:

Actors: Who are the people and organizations that create and maintain
algorithms and other digital technologies behind the communication
interfaces of platforms, apps, search engines or games? What about
diversity and diversity challenges in the software industry? Under which
working conditions is software produced? What are the professional norms
and values of software designers, programmers and engineers?

Logics: What are the processes and rules of the game in the production
of algorithms and digital technologies? What are criteria for 'good'
code? What are the business models behind algorithms, 'big data' and
artificial intelligence? How do monopolies or hegemonic actors influence
the production and the design of digital technologies?

Cultures: Which norms and values inform the production of algorithms and
digital technologies? Are there any specific views, ideas, narratives or
imaginations of the world that inform the creation of technologies? Is
there a specific culture of software creation? Are there critical,
Marxist, feminist or queer approaches, and what are their contributions?

Date and Location

This conference is organized around invited presentations and an open
call for papers. We invite up to 16 presentations of original and
unpublished research. Selected participants are expected to attend the
full conference (starting 10 am April 23 and ending 5 pm April 24).

Abstracts: maximum 500 words
Deadline: Jan 15, 2020
Notification of acceptance: (around) Feb 20, 2020

Please send abstracts to team@behindthealgorithm2020.de

The conference is free of charge (thanks to our funders) and lunch will
be provided presenting authors during the two days. The accepted paper
presenters will have to arrange travel and accommodation themselves.

Conference venue is Malmö University, Niagara building (2 min by foot
from Malmö Central Station which is located 10 minutes by train from
Lund Central Station, 25 min by train from Copenhagen Airport and 40 min
by train from Copenhagen Central Station), see

Attending as audience

There is a possibility to attend as audience. In case of high demand,
priority will be given to students and faculty affiliated to Malmö
University and Weizenbaum Institute as well as to audience committing to
attend the full conference.

Conference chairs

Jakob Svensson is Full Professor of Media and Communication Studies at
Malmö University, School of Arts & Communication (K3). He obtained his
PhD in 2008 from Lund University (under the supervision of prof. Peter
Dahlgren), and was promoted to associate professor at Karlstad
University in 2014. Jakob Svensson has worked extensively on topics of
political participation and digital media communication. Today his
research is focused on two areas: 1) digital media and empowerment with
a special focus on LGBTQI in contexts of state-sanctioned homophobia,
and 2) socio-cultural approaches to data and algorithms. He is currently
leading the research project Behind the Algorithm, funded by the Swedish
Research council.

Ulrike Klinger is Assistant Professor for Digital Communication at Freie
Universität Berlin and head of the research group 'News, Campaigns and
the Rationality of Public Discourse' at the Weizenbaum Institute for the
Networked Society in Berlin. After her dissertation, which won the best
dissertation award by the German Political Science Association 2012, she
joined the IKMZ Department of Communication and Media Research at the
University of Zurich. Research visits at the University of California at
Santa Barbara, the HIIG Humboldt Internet Institute in Berlin and
Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen followed. Her research focuses on
political communication, social media, and transformations of the public

Jakob Svensson
+46 (0) 40-66 57205
Malmö University,
School of Arts & Communication (K3),
205 06 Malmö, Sweden

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