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Thursday Night Live! Bot Club (humans welcome): Critical Bots
do 15 juni 2017, 19:30 – 21:00 CEST
A well known fact since the US election is that bots and algorithms play a major role in spreading fake news and in the emergence of filter bubbles. But bots can also play a more critical role. These ‘critical bots’ are the focus of Bot Club 2. Join us for an evening with digital culture researcher Anne Helmond, media artist Julian Oliver, and the bots themselves.
On digital platforms such as Google and Spotify algorithms filter content based on users’ click behaviour. They accommodate users’ preferences (and empower the filter bubbles!) and help them to sell advertising space. The veracity of the information that is accessed is irrelevant. The more clicks, the more the advertising revenue. Bots and other algorithmic agents can also operate more critically. They can contribute to the availability of reliable information, uncover hidden information flows, and recommend alternative information whereby filter bubbles are burst. Anne Helmond delves into the history of online bots and analyses the methods of critical bots and the circumstances in which they can operate. What can we learn about platforms such as Google and Wikipedia? And how do bots analyse platform practices? Media artist Julian Oliver presents some of his critical devices. Newstweek manipulates which news people can access at Internet hotspots (a collaboration with Danja Vasiliev), and does the Transparency Grenade make the leaking of secret information as easy as pulling a pin.
The bots will also appear on stage. The evening will be moderated by Klaas Kuitenbrouwer (Het Nieuwe Instituut).
Anne Helmond is assistant professor of new media and digital culture at the University of Amsterdam and studied the web as a collection of platforms. She is a member of the Digital Methods Initiative research collective where she focuses on the infrastructure of social media platforms and apps. In her dissertation The Web as Platform: Data Flows in Social Media, Anne developed the notion of ‘platformization’ to understand the dual logic of social media platforms’ extension into the rest of the web and, simultaneously, their drive to make external web data platform ready’.
Julian Oliver is a renowned media artist and co-author of the Critical Engineering Manifesto. Julian’s perspective is formed by his consequential open-source code practice, giving him a technologically independent position not steered by off-the-shelf hardware and software. Julian regularly gives workshops and masterclasses in software art, data forensics, creative hacking, computer networking and counter-surveillance.
Bot Club (humans welcome)
Bot Club casts an astonished, but also critical look at a world where bots, algorithmic agents and generative processes do the work and gives them the stage.
Thursday Night Live!
In Het Nieuwe Instituut’s Thursday Night programme thinkers, designers and makers from the Netherlands and abroad discuss urgent issues, innovative research and critical reflection related to architecture, design and digital culture. Visit the museum and grab a bite to eat with the speakers and guests. With varied pop-in expo's and diverse partner programmes.
Before Thursday Night Live! you can grab a bite and eat with the speakers and staff of Het Nieuwe Instituut. At 18:30 Het Nieuwe Café will serve either soup with bread or a quiche with salad. Dinner vouchers are available for €7.50 up to a day before the particular Thursday Night event via the Tickets link on this page.