COMM7840 Algorithmic Culture (3 units)
The course aims to offer students the latest knowledge as well as critical and reflective perspectives on how “algorithm,” i.e. a finite sequence of rules operating on some input yielding some output after a finite number of step for computer programmes, are shaping, and shaped by, humans’ culture and society. Algorithmic culture is defined as the extent to which people, places, objects, and ideas are ranked, classified, and hierarchized by algorithm-based computational processes. Nowadays algorithm is a crucial component in all aspects of digital communication practice, such as recommender systems, search engines, social media bots, automated content generation systems, immersive media such as virtual reality and augmented reality, and AI-assisted news production systems. This course interrogates how these algorithm-driven media technologies are casting cultural, social, and political impacts on the society, and aims to reveal the power and control hidden behind the algorithmic systems. Special focus will be placed on an array of highly controversial and timely topics, such as the algorithmic discrimination on gender and race, algorithm-confounded cultural values and tastes, censorship, political ideologies, and identities.
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