Integrating Technologies, Platforms and Governance
Edited by Nicos Komninos and Christina Kakderi
Chapter 3: Towards an algorithmic city: transformation in politics, governance and service provision
Technological development has had a dramatic impact on urban life and the pace of change is likely to continue to be fast for the foreseeable future. This chapter draws attention to fundamental changes in the logic of urban life affected by technologically enhanced disembedding mechanisms, examples of which include a range of autonomous service, learning, interactive, and control systems. The chapter conceptualizes the fundamental dimensions and emerging forms of algorithm-based practices in local public affairs. The discussion starts with a contextual description of the algorithmic revolution. It then concretizes this idea by focusing on the use of algorithms in politics, regulation, governance, and service provision, and it lastly exemplifies real-life developments by presenting a few cases from the USA. Paradigmatic examples include the use of algorithms in law enforcement and eligibility systems, which have a profound impact on people’s lives. Such systems have the undeniable potential to smarten up decision-making and governance processes, but they may at the same time increase inflexibility, opacity, and bias.
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