The hidden persuasions of algorithms

  • Author / Creator
    Burden, Michael P
  • Algorithms are increasingly present in our lives and responsible for many aspects of society – but are hidden from inspection. As codified instructions they require design (unless simplistic) and this design emerges from a web of social factors. Web sites and video games contain decision-making algorithms, their decisions make statements about the user's world. Persuasion occurs in social contexts; as interactive devices inhabit social roles these decisions have persuasive effects. Additionally, the algorithmic design may contain doxa (unexamined assumptions), or exist within a hyperreal system - a simulation accepted as real by the user. In these ways the influence of the algorithm passes unexamined to the user. Also, through neuroplasticity tools become incorporated into the cognitive processes of the user's mind, becoming an agent of the enmeshed mind. The thinking of the algorithmic tools becomes a cognitive bias, its influence situated in the mind of the user.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.