1st Edition

Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence and Beyond Theorising Society and Culture of the 21st Century

    268 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume brings together eminent scholars from various parts of the world, representing different fields of knowledge in order to explore the social, cultural, political, and economic effects of the development of new technologies.

    On the one hand, the book contextualizes the discussion of algorithms and AI within the broader framework of the digital revolution, but it also examines individual experiences and practices. Moreover, in light of the speed at which algorithms and AI are being incorporated into various aspects of life, contributors also question the ethical implications of their development. The widespread development of artificial intelligence and algorithmic solutions is one of the most important contemporary phenomena. It has an overwhelming impact on the social and cultural life of the 21st century. In this context, one can point to both exciting examples of the application of algorithms and AI in business and popular culture, as well as the challenges of widening social inequality or the expanding scope of surveillance.

    The scope of the impact of algorithms and AI makes the formation of new theoretical frameworks vital. This is the aim of this book, which will be of interest to academics within the humanities and social sciences with an interest in technology and the impact of algorithms and AI on society and culture.

    Theorising the Algorithmic Condition: Challenges, Strategies, and Perspectives

    Dariusz Brzeziński, Kamil Filipek, Kuba Piwowar, and Małgorzata Winiarska-Brodowska


    Part I: The Algorithmic Revolution: New Theoretical Frameworks


    1. A Theory of Algorithmic Sociality (TaS)

    Robert Seyfert


    2. Theorising Artificial Intelligence as Practice

    Kamil Filipek


    Part II: Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and the Theories of Modernity


    3. Images of Algorithmic Modernity: Agency and Autonomy in the Age of Predictive Analytics 

    Anthony Elliott


    4. Zuckerberg’s Cave: Smartness and Discipline in Digital Modernity

    Kieron O’Hara


    Part III: Theory, Culture, and Society in the Algorithmic Condition


    5. Algorithmic Nostalgia: Longing for the Past in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

    Dariusz Brzeziński


    6. Socio-Cultural Artificial Intelligence (SCAI) and Journalism: A Transdisciplinary Perspective in Media and Communication Studies

    Małgorzata Winiarska-Brodowska and Katalin Fehér


    7. Narrating AI Stories: Selected Strategies

    Mirosław Filiciak and Kuba Piwowar


    Part IV: Theorising AI-Driven Power and Politics


    8.  If (world2vec) Then vec2politics: On Machine Learning and the Performativity of Recursive Power

    Jonathan Roberge, Nicolas Chartier-Edwards, and Étienne Grenier


    9. Generative AI, Big Tech and the Value of Political Economy Analysis for the Sociology of Artificial Intelligence

    Zheng Liu


    10. Four Models of Algorithmic Bureaucracy in China 

    Baogang He and Jinjin Wu


    Part V: Critical Theory of Artificial Intelligence


    11. Social Inequalities and Artificial Intelligence: How Digital Inequality Scholarship Enhances Our Understanding

    Christopher Lutz


    12. AI Racial Bias: How Text-to-Image Artificial Intelligence Generators Construct Prestigious Professions 

    Anna Górska and Dariusz Jemielniak


    Dariusz Brzeziński is Associate Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland and a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds, UK.

    Kamil Filipek is Assistant Professor in the Department of Economic Sociology and Social Research Methods at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin (UMCS), Poland. 

    Kuba Piwowar is Assistant Professor at the Department of Culture and Media at the SWPS University in Warsaw, Poland.

    Małgorzata Winiarska-Brodowska is Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism and International Communication at the Institute of Journalism, Media and Social Communication at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.

    “A journey across the blurry landscapes of a society reshaped by algorithms and AI. This book brings clarity and depth through a wide set of theoretical lenses that cover the technological, political, economic and cultural aspects of our current algorithmic condition.”

    Massimo Airoldi, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Milan, Italy


    “Algorithms and artificial intelligence are calling into question many established conceptions and theories of the social world. By integrating a range of theories, this comprehensive new book provides the conceptual tools needed to gain insight and perspective on these shifts.”

    David Beer, Professor of Sociology, University of York, UK


    “This is a wonderfully timely book on algorithmic culture and artificial intelligence. I am pleased to see this theme historizised from a modernization perspective as a contrast to the presentism of so much of contemporary work in this area. This is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the present algorithmic condition in its wider historical context.”

    Göran Bolin, Professor of Media and Communication Studies, Södertörn University, Sweden 


    “This is an important new collection on the ‘algorithmic condition’. The pervasiveness of algorithms and AI in everyday life demands not only empirical work but new (and old) theoretical frameworks. This volume offers those frameworks from a rich variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives with excellent contributions from both established and early career scholars and from the Global South as well as the North. The focus on theorising means that the significance of the collection will endure long beyond the latest version of an AI chatbot or instalment of the algorithmic turn.”

    John Downey, Professor of Comparative Media Analysis, Loughborough University, UK, and President of European Communication Research & Education Association (ECREA)


    “A rich and diverse collection of essays using social theory to understand the profound impacts of artificial intelligence and “algorithms” on society and culture. Researchers and students hungry for fresh ways of examining the vital issues raised by these technologies should devour this volume.”

    David Hesmondhalgh, Professor of Media, Music and Culture, University of Leeds, UK


    “This theoretically and empirically rich edited volume by Brzeziński and others offers novel insights in the adoption of AI and algorithms in the private sector. In exploring various dimensions of algorithmic conditions, practical cases and ethical implications, the book provides a comprehensive, multidimensional, and multi-perspective study on the algorithmic revolution. The book will be of great interest to scholars in sociology, media and communication, politics, computer sciences, and governance.”

    Carolijn van Noort, Associate Professor of Blue Governance, Aalborg University, Denmark


    “Is AI a new "social actor"? The new "engine" of social change? Or are these 19th-century concepts not adequate to the challenges posed by the revolution that seemingly everyone - in industry, state, science and the arts - wants AI to be? Offering a much-needed antidote to the uncritical use of outdated concepts in today's "AI debate", this book opens up a broad range of promising paths towards a new theory of technology and society in the face of AI.” 

    Noortje Marres, Professor in Science, Technology and Society, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick, UK


    “The book is a timely and important contribution to understanding how AI and data driven technologies interact with society from the perspective of social sciences and humanities. The latter branch of science is all too often left out in the current AI research and funding. The different chapters significantly fill the gap by taking a conceptual, interdisciplinary, international, and critical perspective on key issues co-shaping the algorithmic condition.”

    Jo Pierson, Professor of Responsible Digitalisation, Hasselt University, Belgium, and Professor of Media and Communication Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

    “This book explores the profound impact of AI and algorithms on society and culture. It examines the dual nature of digital technologies as tools of innovation and instruments of power, addressing their applications, ethical challenges, and influence on social inequalities. A must-read for understanding the intersection of technology and society in the digital age.”

    Aleksandra Przegalińska, Vice Rector of ESR and International Affairs, Kozminski University, Poland, and Senior Research Associate, Center for Labour and Just Economy, Harvard University, USA