Tag: algorithmic culture

From Law in Action to Law in Computation: Preparing PhD Students for Technology, Law and Society

Editor’s Note: This is the inaugural post for the Law in Computation series, a collection of blog posts from faculty and graduate student fellows at UC Irvine’s Technology, Law and Society Institute. Leading up to a summer institute in 2018, the series provides examples of research and thinking from this interdisciplinary group and elaborates how sociolegal scholars might address new computing technologies, like artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, autonomous vehicles, and more.  In 2015, a robot buying illicit items off the “dark web” was confiscated by the Swiss authorities along with its haul of Ecstasy pills, a Hungarian passport, counterfeit designer clothing, and other items. Dubbed Random Darknet Shopper it was a bot programmed to shop on the dark web using Bitcoin, the pseudo-anonymous cryptocurrency that, at the time of my writing, is experiencing an enormous bubble. Previously assumed to be the domain of criminals or drug dealers, the Bitcoin bubble has made it more mainstream, even on popular television shows like The Daily Show and is being discussed at policy forums worldwide. It increased in value from just over $1000 to over $8000 between February 2017 and February 2018, with a peak at over $19,000 in mid-December 2017. While it was pretty obscure just a few months ago, you probably have a cousin or uncle currently “mining” Bitcoin or trading in similar digital tokens whether you know it or not. (read more...)

“Discovery” Systems and Algorithmic Culture

Understanding “discovery”—the processes through which people locate previously unknown information—is a critical issue for academic libraries and librarians as they endeavor to provide and make accessible materials for students, faculty members, and other library users.  Until relatively recently, people seeking information at an academic library were typically faced with a myriad of confusing catalogs, indexes, and databases, each with a different topical coverage, organizational structure and search interface.  For people increasingly accustomed to Google’s simple search interface and natural language functionality, the “cognitive load” of siloing information in this way can be extremely high.  Library discovery systems were developed to address this problem.  By creating a centralized index of a library’s resources, these tools allow a user to simultaneously query almost all of a library’s holdings via a single Google-style search box. Along with my colleagues Lynda Duke and Suzanne Wilson, I recently completed a research study examining how undergraduate (read more...)