Algorithm Agency, Awareness, and Accountability


From AI-assisted cars, speech-recognition systems, match-making sites, to news and more, we see the role of algorithmic systems growing in everyday life.Is algorithmic system literacy growing at a similar pace?How do people make sense of how algorithmic systems work, and do they know that they exist?I highlight some approaches for improving users’ understanding of everyday algorithmic systems, and discuss the need for new interdisciplinary approaches and societal infrastructures to increase awareness, accountability, and community participation around invisible algorithmic systems.


Karrie Karahalios is a University Scholar and Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois. Her recent work focuses on sense-making and understanding of algorithmic systems used in everyday life. She is well known for contributions to online discrimination audits and algorithm awareness across social media sites. Karahalios directs the Social Spaces Research Group. She co-directs the Center for Just Infrastructures, the Center for People and Infrastructures, and the Community Data Clinic —and holds affiliate positions in the Coordinated Science Laboratory, the Information School, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and theUnit for Criticism & Interpretive Theory.