Saturday, 23 July 2011

TED - Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world

In this recent TED talk by game designer Kevin Slavin on the impact of mathematical algorithms on our lives. Here he argues that the increasing complexity and co-implication of the autonomous algorithms we have created to help run our everday lives is rapidly outstripping our ability to read or control them.
These are the physics of culture. And if these algorithms, like the algorithms on Wall Street, just crashed one day, went awry, how would we know? What would it look like?
Particularly interesting is his discussion of the idea that architecture itself has become 'subject to algorithmic optimisation' according to a 'machine dialect' which, as in his example of the 'destination control elevator' with no buttons, is built to the measure of the 'bin packing' algorithm written to run it, rather than to the needs of the humans intended to use it. Further, it is not merely the man-made environment but the Earth itself and the natural landscape that are subjected to this new 'co-evolutionary' force.

Brilliantly Provocative!

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