Please join us for a book launch and talk for Discriminating Data (MIT Press) by Wendy Chun (Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media, Simon Fraser University). Respondent: Ganaele Langlois (York University).
In Discriminating Data, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun reveals how polarization is a goal—not an error—within big data and machine learning. These methods, she argues, encode segregation, eugenics, and identity politics through their default assumptions and conditions. Correlation, which grounds big data's predictive potential, stems from twentieth-century eugenic attempts to “breed” a better future. Recommender systems foster angry clusters of sameness through homophily. Users are “trained” to become authentically predictable via a politics and technology of recognition. Machine learning and data analytics thus seek to disrupt the future by making disruption impossible.
Wendy Hui Kyong Chun is Simon Fraser University's Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media and Professor of Communication and Director of the SFU Digital Democracies Institute. She is the author of Control and Freedom, Programmed Visions, and Updating to Remain the Same, all published by the MIT Press.