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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2019

The Everyday Life of an Algorithm


  • Delves into what we do - and don't - know about algorithms in our daily lives

  • Demonstrates how forms of work have been transformed by algorithmic systems

  • Explores future possibilities in how society will interact with algorithms

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-ix
  2. Introduction: Everyday Life and the Algorithm

    • Daniel Neyland
    Pages 1-20Open Access
  3. Experimentation with a Probable Human-Shaped Object

    • Daniel Neyland
    Pages 21-43Open Access
  4. Accountability and the Algorithm

    • Daniel Neyland
    Pages 45-71Open Access
  5. The Deleting Machine and Its Discontents

    • Daniel Neyland
    Pages 73-92Open Access
  6. Demonstrating the Algorithm

    • Daniel Neyland
    Pages 93-122Open Access
  7. Market Value and the Everyday Life of the Algorithm

    • Daniel Neyland
    Pages 123-137Open Access
  8. Back Matter

    Pages 139-151

About this book

This open access book begins with an algorithm–a set of IF…THEN rules used in the development of a new, ethical, video surveillance architecture for transport hubs. Readers are invited to follow the algorithm over three years, charting its everyday life. Questions of ethics, transparency, accountability and market value must be grasped by the algorithm in a series of ever more demanding forms of experimentation. Here the algorithm must prove its ability to get a grip on everyday life if it is to become an ordinary feature of the settings where it is being put to work. Through investigating the everyday life of the algorithm, the book opens a conversation with existing social science research that tends to focus on the power and opacity of algorithms. In this book we have unique access to the algorithm’s design, development and testing, but can also bear witness to its fragility and dependency on others.


  • Science and Technology Studies
  • STS
  • Algorithm
  • Online Behavior
  • Online Search Activities
  • Internet Activities
  • Digital Space
  • Algorithmic Effects
  • Software
  • Hardware
  • Big Data
  • Accountability
  • Openness
  • Transparency
  • Computer Science
  • Calculations
  • Open Access

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, UK

    Daniel Neyland

About the author

Daniel Neyland is Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, the University of London, UK. His research engages with issues of governance, accountability and ethics in forms of science, technology and organization. He has published books on privacy and surveillance, organizational ethnography, mundane governance (co-authored with Steve Woolgar) and markets (co-authored with Vera Ehrenstein and Sveta Milyaeva).

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)