The massive deployment of algorithmic solutions, e.g. social media, autonomous cars, virtual assistants, disease diagnostic tools in the public and private space has encouraged social scientists to investigate this phenomenon in all its complexity. Scholars emphasise that social consequences of algorithms’ deployment are yet to be known, although those already recognized are not only optimistic. The algorithms and artificial intelligence models built upon social data are often unknown (“black box”), biased, or decontextualized, which distorts the purpose and sense of their practical implementation. This implies that an interdisciplinary debate on the role of algorithms in contemporary society and culture is extremely necessary today.

On the one hand, the power of algorithms, big data processing technologies, new applications of artificial intelligences etc., are perceived as a challenge for contemporary culture, economy and politics. On the other hand, the new technologies are often seen as a great opportunity for humanity. Simultaneously, we are witnessing the emergence of “algorithmic culture” that shapes contemporary social practices in diverse fields. Are we therefore able to explain or understand the pros and cons of algorithms through the lens of contemporary social science, with particular emphasis on sociology?

The aim of the symposium is to discuss the consequences of algorithms, with the emphasis on the new ways of theorising society and culture. Guest speakers representing different countries and scientific disciplines will focus on a number of pressing issues related to artificial intelligence, algorithms and digitization.