Kathrin Passig

Rapid advances in machine learning have prompted much debate about the sinister implications of ‘black-box’ algorithms. Yet fears about the opacity of computer code are as old as software itself, writes Kathrin Passig. Indeed, black boxes are all around us, not just inside our computers…

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What is it good for? A passing fad! It makes you stupid! Today’s technology critique is tomorrow’s embarrassing error of judgement, as Katrin Passig shows. Her suggestion: one should try to avoid repeating the most commonplace critiques, particularly in public.

Consensus among online communities may all too often prove fragile if not illusory. But, writes Kathrin Passig, as long as Internet users can adapt to groups that actually agree on only a select few issues, there is no need to lose faith in social media.