Governance By and of Algorithms on the Internet: Impact and Consequences

In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.904

Posted: 24 Aug 2021

See all articles by Michael Latzer

Michael Latzer

University of Zurich – IKMZ, Media Change & Innovation Division

Natascha Just

University of Zurich

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

Internet-based services that build on automated algorithmic selection processes, for example search engines, computational advertising, and recommender systems, are booming and platform companies that provide such services are among the most valuable corporations worldwide. Algorithms on and beyond the Internet are increasingly influencing, aiding, or replacing human decision-making in many life domains. Their far-reaching, multifaceted economic and social impact, which results from the governance by algorithms, is widely acknowledged. However, suitable policy reactions, that is, the governance of algorithms, are the subject of controversy in academia, politics, industry, and civil society. This governance by and of algorithms is to be understood in the wider context of current technical and societal change, and in connection with other emerging trends. In particular, expanding algorithmizing of life domains is closely interrelated with and dependent on growing datafication and big data on the one hand, and rising automation and artificial intelligence in modern, digitized societies on the other. Consequently, the assessments and debates of these central developmental trends in digitized societies overlap extensively. Research on the governance by and of algorithms is highly interdisciplinary. Communication studies contributes to the formation of so-called “critical algorithms studies” with its wide set of sub-fields and approaches and by applying qualitative and quantitative methods. Its contributions focus both on the impact of algorithmic systems on traditional media, journalism, and the public sphere, and also cover effect analyses and risk assessments of algorithmic-selection applications in many domains of everyday life. The latter includes the whole range of public and private governance options to counter or reduce these risks or to safeguard ethical standards and human rights, including communication rights in a digital age.

Keywords: algorithms, Internet, governance, automation, artificial intelligence, algorithmic decision-making, personalization

Suggested Citation

Latzer, Michael and Just, Natascha, Governance By and of Algorithms on the Internet: Impact and Consequences (2020). In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.904, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3869771

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

Natascha Just

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

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