It’s easy to think of algorithms as magical beings, delivering purely objective, admirably efficient, and sometimes startlingly insightful solutions to our everyday problems, but in his new book What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing, Ed Finn reveals them to be more like Captain Kirk than Spock. The algorithm shares roots with Alan Turing and ancient Babylonian mathematicians, but also the boundaries of language, cognition and magical thinking.
How are algorithms changing our lives, from the aesthetics of television shows to the structure of the economy? What, really, do algorithms want from us? Do they have an imagination of their own? An agenda?
On Tuesday, March 28, Ed Finn—the director of Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination and the academic director of Future Tense—will discuss What Algorithms Want at a happy hour event at the New America office in Washington, D.C. He’ll be joined by Christine Rosen, a Future Tense fellow and senior editor of the New Atlantis, to examine why we need to understand algorithms and how computational intelligence can build (or prevent) an enhanced (human) future.
The reception and registration will open at 5:30 p.m., followed by the conversation at 6 p.m. For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website.