What Algorithms Want

Algorithms tell us what to read, where to go, and whom to date…but do we really understand them?

It’s easy to think of algorithms as magical beings, delivering purely objective, admirably efficient, and sometimes startlingly insightful solutions to our everyday problems, but in his new book What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing, Ed Finn reveals them to be more like Captain Kirk than Spock.  The algorithm shares roots with Alan Turing and ancient Babylonian mathematicians, but also the boundaries of language, cognition and magical thinking.

How are algorithms changing our lives, from the aesthetics of television shows to the structure of the economy? What, really, do algorithms want from us? Do they have an imagination of their own? An agenda? On Tuesday, March 28, Future Tense hosted Ed Finn and Christine Rosen, a Future Tense fellow and senior editor of The New Atlantis, to find out why we need to understand algorithms and how computational intelligence can build (or prevent) an enhanced (human) future.

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate , New America , and Arizona State University.

Featured speakers include Ed Finn, Author, What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing; Director, Center for Science and the Imagination, Arizona State University; Academic Director, Future Tense and Christine Rosen, Senior Editor, The New Atlantis; Fellow, Future Tense

Event highlight video.

March 28, 2017
Run time
New America
Presented by:
Future Tense