The Political Power of the Algorithm

social relations in the technosphere

This essay for the inaugural issue of Technology and Language highlights that digital technology is transforming not only the way we communicate through language, but the very nature of language, thought and action. Algorithms are deployed to make decisions, to sort and make meaningfully visible the vast amount of data produced and available on the Web. In ranking, classifying, sorting, predicting, and processing data, algorithms are political in the sense that they help to make the world appear in certain ways rather than others.