Unboxing the Black Box: Algorithmic Regulation and Its Implications (Stream A)

Contemporary social and political infrastructure is increasingly powered by algorithms and algorithmic systems that are widely used in everything from financial markets to healthcare, to social media, to policing.  Oftentimes, however, algorithms operate as ‚black boxes‘: not only they are corporate secrets but also their workings are obscure to the general population, making it difficult to discover and account for the algorithmic biases and their material effects on different social groups. This workshop will invite participants to engage, both in a theoretical and hands-on manner, with the following questions: What is an algorithm and how does it work? How are algorithmic systems built and employed? What concepts can adequately account for the workings of algorithmic power and governance? And finally, what are the implications of algorithmic biases and regulation for different groups and what kind of models of collective politics are needed to tackle them?

Carmen K.M. Lam is an aspiring designer who surveys the transdisciplinary spaces among architecture, exhibition design, media arts and situated technologies with a keen interest in knowledge production for the common good. A native of Hong Kong educated in Austria, the United States and Germany, she has worked in architectural and design practices in Berlin, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Ongoing projects include an immersive archive visualization for the nationwide celebration of Bauhausjubiläum in Weimar, 2019, and a speculative design research on posthuman urban futures.

Goda Klumbyte is a PhD candidate in Gender/Diversity and Informatics Systems, University of Kassel. Her research engages feminist science and technology studies, new media studies and posthumanism.  Of particular interest to her are the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence and algorithms, and how developments in these fields re-configure notions of body, subjectivity, gender and social relations.

Jennifer Stoll is part of the Sociology of Diversity department at the University of Kassel. Her teaching and research engages with feminist theory, gender and queer studies and biopolitics. Currently she is researching on trans* practices of becoming parents and is interested in entanglements of technologies, embodiment and gender.

Pinar Tuzcu (Dr. phil.) holds a postdoc position and teaches at the Department of Sociology of Diversity at the University of Kassel, Germany. She is the author of the book titled ‘Ich bin eine Kanackin’ Decolonizing Popfeminism (2017). Her research interests include contemporary feminisms and queer theory, postmigration studies, decolonial approaches and speculative methodology. She is currently working on a project “Mobile Feminisms in Speculative Times.”

Liselot Ramirez is a front-end/software developer from Dominican Republic, currently doing her Masters on Human-Computer Interaction in Bauhaus Universität Weimar. During her bachelors at Farmingdale State College in New York, she was part of the first group that started the Women in Computing club, which promoted and encouraged the participation of women in STEM fields, specifically computer science. These days she is more involved with ubiquitous computing, using Arduino and Raspberry Pi to make interactive devices for two different fields, civil engineering and mental health improvement.