"How were computers given the task of searching and classifying information? Engines of Order offers an exciting archaeology of the algorithmic techniques that made these feats possible. It is a unique book that mixes a high level of theorization with a detailed examination of modes of expression in the form of technique." - Dominique Cardon, Professor at Sciences Po Paris and Director, médialab
"This book is essential reading for everybody who wants to better understand our algorithmic society. For the first time, a number of key data techniques such as data-driven classification methods are given proper theoretical and historical attention. I highly recommend this clear and smart guide to the world in which we are all living." - Lev Manovich, Professor at City University of New York and Director, Cultural Analytics Lab
Software has become a key component of contemporary life and algorithms that rank, classify, or recommend are everywhere. Building on the philosophy of Gilbert Simondon and the cultural techniques tradition, this book examines the constructive and cumulative character of software and retraces the historical trajectories of a series of algorithmic techniques that have become the building blocks for contemporary practices of ordering. Developed in opposition to centuries of library tradition, these techniques instantiate dynamic, perspectivist, and interested forms of knowing. Embedded in technical infrastructures and economic logics, they have become engines of order that transform how we arrange information, ideas, and people.