The Philosophical Importance of Algorithms

Interesting insights from a philosopher I will be keeping an eye on…

Once we appreciate the increasing ubiquity of algorithms, and once we understand the two translation problems, the need to think critically about algorithms becomes much more apparent. If algorithms are going to be the lifeblood of modern technological infrastructures, if those infrastructures are going to shape and influence more and more aspects of our lives, and if the discernment and judgment of algorithm-designers is key to how they do this, then it is important that we make sure we understand how that discernment and judgment operates.

More generally than this, if algorithms are going to sit at the heart of contemporary life, it seems like they should be of interest to philosophers. Philosophy is divided into three main branches of inquiry: (i) epistemology (how do we know?); (ii) ontology (what exists?); and (iii) ethics/morality (what ought we do?). The growth of algorithmic governance would seem to have important repercussions for all three branches of inquiry.

via Philosophical Disquisitions: The Philosophical Importance of Algorithms.

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