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This article draws on an ethnography of road construction in the Peruvian Andes to explore how engineering projects operate as sites of contemporary governance. Focusing on the way in which engineering projects entail a confrontation with dangers of various kinds, we explore how people caught up...
In a quiet London office, a software designer muses on the algorithms that will make possible the risk flags to be visualized on the screens of border guards from Heathrow to St Pancras International. There is, he says, ‘real time decision making’ – to detain, to deport, to secondarily...
The connections between forms of code and coding and the many crises that currently afflict the contemporary world run deep. Code and crisis in our time mutually define, and seemingly prolong, each other in ‘infinite branching graphs’ of decision problems. There is a growing academic...
This paper is about the phenomenon of encoding, more specifically about the encoded extension of agency. The question of code most often emerges from contemporary concerns about the way digital encoding is seen to be transforming our lives in fundamental ways, yet seems to operate ‘under the...
In a range of digital creative productions and digital culture, questions of how to deal with finitude are on the rise. On the one hand, sectors of the digital entertainment industry – specifically computer games developers – are concerned with the question of how to manage `death' digitally....
Marketing and web analytic companies have implemented sophisticated algorithms to observe, analyze, and identify users through large surveillance networks online. These computer algorithms have the capacity to infer categories of identity upon users based largely on their web-surfing habits. In...
Contemporary financial markets have recently witnessed a sea change with the ‘algorithmic revolution’, as trading automats are used to ease the execution sequences and reduce market impact. Being constantly monitored, they take an active part in the shaping of markets, and sometimes generate...
This article addresses the seemingly paradoxical proliferation of coded systems designed to guarantee our safety and crises that endanger us. These two phenomena, it argues, are not opposites but rather complements; crises are not accidental to a culture focused on safety, they are its raison...
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