Approaching the Power of Algorithmic Decision-Making

This essay is provided by Ajla Nesimovic, former student in the master program Organization Studies at University of Innsbruck, and based on her master thesis.

“This master thesis is a story,” are the first words of my thesis. If you are now frowning and thinking what the heck I am talking about, then you are definitely not alone. Once an inspiring person taught me that managing expectations could be helpful as it might give a sense of motivation and direction. Now that I have told you that my master thesis is a story you are probably expecting a lot of fairy tale and little scientific appropriateness. You are not that far off! I definitely write a lot about ambiguities and contradictions of theorists. In later sections, I critically reflect on my very own work and further identify it as an invention with a lot of ambiguities and contradictions too. Nevertheless, my supervisor wanted me to write a blogpost about my master thesis. I suppose, it’s because of the jokes.

The story is multilayered as it consists of various story lines which are differing from each other but are still overlapping and coexisting. My master thesis, therefore, can be read in many different ways: as a love letter to the study program Organization Studies; as an imaginary and intellectual debate between my AI professor and myself; as a story about myself; or as a story about algorithms. I am not offering these different opportunities to potential readers by accident, since this thesis was guided by an interpretation of Deleuze’s and Guattari’s process philosophy (1994).

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New Article: “Algorithmic Decision-Making, Spectrogenic Profiling, and Hyper-Facticity in the Age of Post-Truth”

Algorithmic profiling is a technology and practice that is increasingly used to make decisions, sometimes even without human intervention. Profiles can be traced back to their use in police work and behaviorist psychology of the early 20th century. Thus, long before the emergence of Big Data, profiles were used as a knowledge tool in a wide range of human sciences. Today, profiles and profiling are used in multiple contexts: customer profiling, profiling for employment screening, credit scoring, criminal investigations, immigration policy, healthcare management, forensic biometrics, etc.

I have published a paper, which explores how the emerging arrangement of multiple profiling impacts decision-making, our subjectivities and relations. It shows how “profiling machines” influence and shape our lives in ways that are often invisible, but nevertheless powerful and often dramatic. Check out the paper entitled “Algorithmic Decision-Making, Spectrogenic Profiling, and Hyper-Facticity in the Age of Post-Truth”, which has been published in the open access journal Le Foucaldian.