Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Algorithmic Authority

Clay Shirky argues that our perception of authoritative sources of information is changing such that we are showing greater trust in automated information sources. He describes those sources in A Speculative Post on the Idea of Algorithmic Authority:
Algorithmic authority is the decision to regard as authoritative an unmanaged process of extracting value from diverse, untrustworthy sources, without any human standing beside the result saying “Trust this because you trust me.” This model of authority differs from personal or institutional authority, and has, I think, three critical characteristics.


the criticism that Wikipedia, say, is not an “authoritative source” is an attempt to end the debate by hiding the fact that authority is a social agreement, not a culturally independent fact.

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