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The Intelligence of Algorithms — before Electronic Computers

Lorraine Daston, Max Planck Institute

May 1, 2018 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm EDT · 106 McCormick

Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities and Eberhard L. Faber 1915 Memorial Fund in the Humanities Council

During the first age of mechanical calculation, roughly 1870-1970, humans and machines in astronomical observatories, government census bureaus, and insurance offices worked in tandem to reimagine one of the most ancient forms of human intelligence: how to calculate. What resulted was not an early form of Artificial Intelligence. Instead, the shift from human to mechanical calculation created new forms of intelligence as well as a tight connection between algorithms and the division of labor that has persisted ever since.

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