Big Data: Algorithmic Governance and the Rise of the Correlational Machine

Dienstag, 17. Oktober 2017, 16:15 Uhr bis 17:30 Uhr

We are delighted to announce a talk from a critical perspective on the Age of Digitalisation in the frame of the Colloquium of the Department of Geography on Big data.

It is a popular trope that Big Data relies on correlation rather than causation, however this is rarely taken seriously either by its advocates or its critics. This presentation will argue that the rise of correlationism is key to understanding how Big Data works to produce knowledge, how this knowledge enables a specific mode of governance and how this mode of governance is legitimised in terms of social and political theory. Often it is argued that Big Data appropriates so much data there is no need to theorise. This is not exactly the case, but Big Data does enable new entities and processes to be seen through correlation: the enrolling of new actants in more-than-human assemblages of sensing – via correlational machines – through biosensing, social media searches or pixel analysis. Examples of each will be provided. Big Data could be seen as actor network theory in practice, seeing not fixed entities but networks of relation and their stabilising effects. As Agamben has noted, governing on the basis of effects rather than causality has profoundly depoliticising consequences, these will be considered here, with the inflection of contemporary philosophical discussion on the problem of ‘actualism’ and the importance of how we grasp entities and relations for understanding the potential for change.

MitDavid Chandler, Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy and Professor of International Relations at the University of Westminster, London

David Chandler edits the journal Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses and is the author of a number of books in the area of governance and social theory, including Resilience: The Governance of Complexity (Routledge, 2014); The Neoliberal Subject: Resilience, Adaptation and Vulnerabilty (with Julian Reid) (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016); and Ontopolitics in the Anthropocene: An Introduction to Mapping, Sensing and Hacking (Routledge, forthcoming 2018).
Ort Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zürich
Raum: Y04, G 30
VeranstalterGeographisches Institut, UZH
Geographische Informationswissenschaft
Geography, Economic Geography (WGG)
Geography, Human Geography (HGG)
Geography, Political Geography (PGG)
KontaktSabina Mächler (Mail)