Technology & Society Distinguished Speaker Series: Regina Rini on “Social Media Algorithms and Democratic Political Culture”

April 5, 2022

Please join us for an upcoming event in the Technology & Society Distinguished Speaker Series: Advancing Human Values in a Digital Age.



Regina Rini, Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Moral and Social Cognition, York University, Toronto, will give a talk titled “Social Media Algorithms and Democratic Political Culture on Thursday, April 7, 2022 from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. ET in the Murray Room on the 5th floor of Lauinger Library.

Our political conversations are increasingly arranged by algorithms which determine the ideas we see and the people we interact with. Algorithms treat us as statistical objects – bundles of predictive features that can be manipulated to drive engagement and ad revenue. Naturally we worry about privacy and manipulation. But there is another, less noticed, reason to worry. Running our civic life through algorithmically mediated discourse may be changing how we think of our fellow citizens. As we grow more savvy of the ways algorithms direct our attention, we are being primed to see the people we want to persuade in the same way the algorithms see us: as statistical bundles first and people second. Can the legitimacy of democracy withstand a shift from thinking of our fellow citizens as moral agents to thinking of them as just more data?

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