Law Text Culture


Current commentaries on digital change have emphasised the reality of our increasing exposure to the power of algorithms. My intervention examines this assertion with a media-historical approach that traces arguments raised in a legal case to the point of software inception. I show that the power of algorithm is based on the eminent cultural techniques of reading and writing. As an antidote to this power, I propose the concept of source code critique, which draws upon historiography and so-called ‘literate programming’, and which could help to introduce transparency into an algorithm's opaque agency.