1st Edition

Algorithms and Automation Governance over Rituals, Machines, and Prototypes, from Sundial to Blockchain

By Denisa Kera Copyright 2024
    270 Pages 31 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    270 Pages 31 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    270 Pages 31 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    To enact the book’s central theme of automation and human agency, the author designed a Bot trained on her book to support dialogue with the content and facilitate discussions. If you like to compare what the author says and Bot ‘interprets’ or generates, go here https://www.anonette.net/denisaBot/

    Algorithms and Automation: Governance over Rituals, Machines, and Prototypes, from Sundial to Blockchain is a critical examination of the history and impact of automation on society. It provides thought-provoking perspectives on the history of automation and its relationship with power, emphasizing the importance of considering the social context in which automation is developed and used. The book argues that automation has always been a political and social force that shapes our lives and futures, rather than a neutral tool. The author provides a genealogy of automation, tracing its development from ancient rituals to modern-day prototypes, and highlights the challenges posed by new technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence. The volume argues that we need more democratic and accountable governance over technological innovation to ensure that it respects human rights, political pluralism, legitimacy, and other values we hold dear in our institutions and political processes.

    An engaging read on a fascinating topic, this book will be indispensable for scholars, students, and researchers of science and technology studies, digital humanities, politics and governance, public policy, social policy, system design and automation, and history and philosophy of science and technology. It will also be of interest to readers interested in the interactions of the sciences and the social sciences and humanities.

    List of Figures ix

    Acknowledgments x

    PART I

    Introduction 1

    1 Introduction 3

    2 The Myth of Automation 13


    Governance over Rituals and Machines 23

    3 Genealogy of Algorithmic Rule 25

    4 From Rituals to Instruments 37

    5 From Instruments to Governance Machines: Cosmology, Ontology, and Politics 46

    6 Prototypes as Paradigms, Cosmoscopes, and Living Instruments 56

    7 Future as Restoration or Transformation: Salomon’s House, Academy of Games and Pleasures, and Hackerspaces 75


    Governance over Prototypes 89

    8 From Governance over Rituals and Instruments to Governance over Prototypes 91

    9 Grassroots Governance over Open Science Hardware 106

    10 Public and Open Futures between Labor, Action, and Leisure 126

    11 Global Prototypes for Local Futures 141


    Governance over Exploratory Sandboxes 171

    12 Experimental Governance over Metaphors, Prototypes, and Sandboxes 173

    13 Governance ‘Trading Zones’: Exploratory Sandboxes 192

    14 Experimental Algorithmic Citizenship 203

    15 Conclusions 218

    Afterword 223

    References 228

    Index 245


    Denisa Reshef Kera is a philosopher and designer, senior lecturer in the Science, Technology and Society at Bar Ilan University, Israel. She is the founder of a Design and Policy lab, Dando.design, which explores innovative and creative ways of embedding ethical program and regulatory norms into the fabric of technical infrastructures. Her commitment to public participation in science and technology is reflected in her unique projects. Her award-winning work Lithopy combines a fairy tale with functional code in a smart village that operates via satellites and blockchain services. Her academic career over the past decade includes University of Malta, Tel Aviv University, University of Salamanca, the National University of Singapore, Arizona State University, and Charles University in Prague, her hometown.