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High-tech Modernism

November 8, 2021 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Location: Live online webcast

This is episode 18 in the CASBS series Social Science for a World in Crisis. Learn more about the series here.

Roundtable panel: danah boyd, Henry Farrell (2021-22 CASBS research affiliate), Marion Fourcade (CASBS fellow 2008-09), William Janeway, Charlton McIlwain, and Zeynep Tufekci

We still do not have a sufficient understanding of the moral political economy of machine learning and other algorithmic forms of decision making. In a new working paper, Henry Farrell and Marion Fourcade present one way of addressing this challenge. They argue that both machine learning and traditional bureaucracies are engines of classification, so that our current moral political economy can be compared to the 19th and 20th century “High Modernism” described by James C. Scott (a former CASBS fellow) in his classic book, Seeing Like a State. What can we learn by thinking of these new techniques as a kind of “High-tech Modernism” and what do we miss? What are alternative ways of understanding this emerging moral political economy, and what are their respective strengths and blind spots? Join Henry Farrell and Marion Fourcade in a roundtable discussion with danah boyd, William Janeway, Charlton McIlwain, and Zeynep Tufekci renowned scholars and thinkers directly engaged with issues surrounding the moral political economy of technology – to consider these questions.


Live online webcast
General Public
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford in partnership with Data & Society; the Ethics, Society, and Technology Hub at Stanford; the Institute for New Economic Thinking, and the Social Science Matrix at UC Berkeley
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November 8, 2021, 12:00 pm