The Feel of Algorithms brings relatable first-person accounts of what it means to experience algorithms emotionally alongside interdisciplinary social science research, to reveal how political and economic processes are felt in the everyday. People’s algorithm stories might fail to separate fact and misconception, and circulate wishful, erroneous, or fearful views of digital technologies. Yet rather than treating algorithmic folklore as evidence of ignorance, this novel book explains why personal anecdotes are an important source of algorithmic knowledge. Minna Ruckenstein argues that we get to know algorithms by feeling their actions and telling stories about them. The Feel of Algorithms shows how taking everyday algorithmic emotions seriously balances the current discussion, which has a tendency to draw conclusions based on celebratory or oppositional responses to imagined future effects. An everyday focus zooms into experiences of pleasure, fear, and irritation, highlighting how political aims and ethical tensions play out in visions, practices, and emotional responses. This book shows that feelings aid in recognizing troubling practices, and also calls for alternatives that are currently ignored or suppressed. Minna Ruckenstein is Professor in Emerging Technologies in Society at the University of Helsinki.
"This accessible and engaging book brings to life multiple stories about the feel of algorithms, and it leaves its readers with no doubt that feelings about algorithms matter—for people, societies, and the politics that shape them."—Helen Kennedy, Professor of Digital Society, University of Sheffield
"A persuasive, welcoming text that helps us understand experiences with technology that are too easy to take for granted. Minna Ruckenstein offers an original, inspired analysis that shows how seemingly psychological responses to digital infrastructures also contain the seeds of collective change."—Dawn Nafus, editor of Quantified: Biosensing Technologies in Everyday Life
Minna Ruckenstein is Professor in Emerging Technologies in Society at the University of Helsinki. She is currently leading two multidisciplinary research consortiums, REPAIR and Reimagine ADM, that both aims to establish new and creative ways to research and promote sustainable algorithmic futures.