Louise Amoore, Cloud Ethics: Algorithms and the Attributes of Ourselves and Others – Duke University Press, May 2020.
Great to see this book is imminent – the Introduction can be read here.
In Cloud Ethics Louise Amoore examines how machine learning algorithms are transforming the ethics and politics of contemporary society. Conceptualizing algorithms as ethicopolitical entities that are entangled with the data attributes of people, Amoore outlines how algorithms give incomplete accounts of themselves, learn through relationships with human practices, and exist in the world in ways that exceed their source code. In these ways, algorithms and their relations to people cannot be understood by simply examining their code, nor can ethics be encoded into algorithms. Instead, Amoore locates the ethical responsibility of algorithms in the conditions of partiality and opacity that haunt both human and algorithmic decisions. To this end, she proposes what she calls cloud ethics—an approach to holding algorithms accountable by engaging with the social and technical conditions under which they emerge and operate.“Beautifully written and richly documented, Louise Amoore’s Cloud Ethicsanalyzes the workings of algorithms in contemporary society, from those assessing security risks to self-learning and self-programming neural nets. She draws on her extensive interviews with experts in the field to explore the nuances of algorithmic doubt and certainty. Finally, she calls for a new ethics of doubt in which the individual components of algorithms are scrutinized to open new spaces for critique that can ‘crack open’ the seemingly certain fabulations of algorithmic calculation. Technically stunning and critically informed, this book is required reading for anyone interested in how to resist the current trends toward algorithmic governmentality.” — N. Katherine Hayles, Distinguished Research Professor of English, University of California, Los Angeles“Calling for an embrace of the contingency and doubt that is inherent in the structure and working of algorithms, this important book refuses mythologies of certainty and machinic omnipotence. Framing computation as a partial accounting, Cloud Ethics moves beyond the unproductive binaries of ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ to consider algorithms as generative of complex political possibilities.” — Caren Kaplan, author of Aerial Aftermaths: Wartime from Above