Governance of Algorithms: Options and Limitations

info, Vol. 17 No. 6, pp. 35-49, 2015

15 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2016

See all articles by Florian Saurwein

Florian Saurwein

Austrian Academy of Sciences

Natascha Just

University of Zurich - Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research

Michael Latzer

University of Zurich – IKMZ, Media Change & Innovation Division

Date Written: July 14, 2015

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of governance choice in the area of algorithmic selection. Algorithms on the Internet shape our daily lives and realities. They select information, automatically assign relevance to them and keep people from drowning in an information flood. The benefits of algorithms are accompanied by risks and governance challenges.

Design/methodology/approach – Based on empirical case analyses and a review of the literature, the paper chooses a risk-based governance approach. It identifies and categorizes applications of algorithmic selection and attendant risks. Then, it explores the range of institutional governance options and discusses applied and proposed governance measures for algorithmic selection and the limitations of governance options.

Findings – Analyses reveal that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions for the governance of algorithms. Attention has to shift to multi-dimensional solutions and combinations of governance measures that mutually enable and complement each other. Limited knowledge about the developments of markets, risks and the effects of governance interventions hampers the choice of an adequate governance mix. Uncertainties call for risk and technology assessment to strengthen the foundations for evidence-based governance.

Originality/value – The paper furthers the understanding of governance choice in the area of algorithmic selection with a structured synopsis on rationales, options and limitations for the governance of algorithms. It provides a functional typology of applications of algorithmic selection, a comprehensive overview of the risks of algorithmic selection and a systematic discussion of governance options and its limitations.

Keywords: Internet, Algorithms, Governance, Regulation, Algorithmic selection, Governance choice

Suggested Citation

Saurwein, Florian and Just, Natascha and Latzer, Michael, Governance of Algorithms: Options and Limitations (July 14, 2015). info, Vol. 17 No. 6, pp. 35-49, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2710400

Florian Saurwein

Austrian Academy of Sciences ( email )

Postgasse 7/4/1
Vienna, A-1010
Austria

Natascha Just

University of Zurich - Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research

Andreasstrasse 15
Zurich, 8050
Switzerland

Michael Latzer (Contact Author)

University of Zurich – IKMZ, Media Change & Innovation Division ( email )

Andreasstraße 15
Zürich, CH-8050
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.mediachange.ch

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