KONF: Source Code Criticism: Hermeneutics, Philology, and Didactics of Algorithms, Online, (25.-26.03.2022)

Hannes Bajohr's picture

University of Basel, Online Workshop March 25/26, 2022

Algorithms determine our situation. From bubble sort to Google’s Page Rank, credit scores, and predictive policing, the logic of algorithms intervenes at every step in our lives. Some operate opaquely, shielding their inner workings from curious eyes. Others strive to be transparent, are shared on repositories like GitHub, and follow an ethics of open-source accountability. In both cases, however, a more than trivial effort is required to understand the source codes in which algorithms are usually written. And with machine learning in the form of artificial neural networks, these efforts may well be in vain, as there is no code to inspect any longer.

The workshop “Source Code Criticism: Hermeneutics, Philology, and Didactics of Algorithms” examines the various ways in which code – both sequential and connectionist – can be read, interpreted, and made accessible to current and future readers, and investigates its role both as often impenetrable societal force as well as a very particular type of text.

For the Zoom link, please send an email to: hannes.bajohr@unibas.ch.


Schedule (all times UTC +1): 


March 25

12:00     Markus Krajewski / Hannes Bajohr (Basel): Introduction 

12:30     Dan Verständig (Magdeburg): Coding and Uncertain Certainty 

13:15     Short Break

13:30     Sarah Lang / Sebastian Stoff (Graz): Expectation Management: Testability and Replicability in the context of research software development 

14:15     Lunch Break

15:45     Christoph Engemann (Berlin): Sources of Centrality: The Social Genealogy of Modern Graph Algorithms

16:30     Short Break

16:45     Wiebke Vorrath (Hamburg): Reading Code Poetry: On Meaning-Making Potentials of Source Code as Literary Text

17:30     Short Break

17:45     Mark Marino (Los Angeles): First Findings: 15 Years of Critical Code Studies

18:30     End of Day One


March 26

13:00     Anne Kaun (Stockholm): On robot colleagues and software stories: Cultural Techniques of Knowing and Unknowing the Algorithm

13:45     Short Break

14:00     Leah Henrickson (Leeds): Grieving via GPT: Circling Around Cadaverous Chatbots

14:45     Short Break

15:00     Jonathan Roberge / Tom Lebrun (Québec): BERT, GPT-3, Timnit Gebru, and us: The AI Conquest of Language.

15:45     Longer Break

16:15     Tyler Shoemaker (Davis, CA): Preprocessing the Word

17:00     Short Break

17:15     Matthew Kirschenbaum (College Park, MD): Reading Recurrent Neural Networks

18:00     Final discussion

18:45     End of Day two


Redaktion: Constanze Baum – Lukas Büsse – Mark-Georg Dehrmann – Nils Gelker – Markus Malo – Alexander Nebrig – Johannes Schmidt

Diese Ankündigung wurde von H-GERMANISTIK [Lukas Büsse] betreut – editorial-germanistik@mail.h-net.msu.edu