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.
Recommended CitationKrajewski, Markus, Against the Power of Algorithms Closing, Literate Programming, and Source Code Critique, Law Text Culture, 23, 2019, 119-133.