Anthony Elliott

Anthony Elliott is Executive Director of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at the University of South Australia, where he is Research Professor of Sociology and Dean of External Engagement.  He is also Super-Global Professor of Sociology (Visiting) at Keio University, Japan.  He is Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in the United Kingdom, Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society, and a Senior Member of King’s College, Cambridge.  His recent books include The Culture of AI (2019), Concepts of the Self (2020, 4E), Reinvention (2021,2E), Contemporary Social Theory: An Introduction (2022, 3E), Making Sense of AI: Our Algorithmic World (2022) and Algorithmic Intimacy: The Digital Revolution in Personal Life (2023).  He is editor of The Routledge Social Science Handbook of AI (2022).

More info at:

Abstrakty wystąpień

May AI be with you: Automation after Amazon

The technological power of predictive algorithms is widely presumed to herald a world in which the crippling burdens of anxiety will be left behind.  In this new algorithmic phase, individuals, communities and organizations are said to at last take control of the future – anticipating, designing and commanding the future, possibly even with mathematical exactitude.  Yet, paradoxically, today’s informational societies have unleashed gripping fears and disabling forebodings on an unprecedented scale.  Whether it’s the panic over technological unemployment, the widespread distress concerning social media’s harmful effects on teenagers and vulnerable children, or the terror of profoundly intrusive and often incapacitating digital surveillance of citizen’s lives, we live in an age of turbo-charged anxiety where the prophecies of algorithms are increasingly enmeshed with fundamental disruption and detachment.  This paper examines the rise of Amazon as a key exemplar of “algocracy”, where automated forms of technical rationality become deeply inscribed in labour activities, work processes and management.  Amazon’s distribution and logistical operations, built upon over 200 major warehouses globally, are reviewed with a view to grasping the intricate interconnections between machine learning algorithms on the one hand and stress, exhaustion, despair, depression and violence on the other. 

Skip to content