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We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of Our Digital Selves
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We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of Our Digital Selves

2.33  ·  Rating details ·  151 ratings  ·  17 reviews
We are Data explores what identity means in an algorithmic age: how it works, how our lives are controlled by it, and how we can resist it.

Algorithms are everywhere, organizing the near limitless data that exists in our world. Derived from our every search, like, click, and purchase, algorithms determine the news we get, the ads we see, the information accessible to us and
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by New York University Press
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Jun 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Read this: "More comprehensively, an algorithmic gender's corrupt univocality substitutes for the reflexive interplay implicit in the gender's constructionism."

This is what you will suffer through. When people write like this, I think that either they are so far up in their academic tower that they have no idea how to explain an idea to another mammal, or they are obfuscating simply to prove to anyone who will listen that they belong in that tower. Either way, if you can't dumb it down enough t
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-giveaway
We live in a world of ubiquitous networked communication almost entirely dependent on internet which are profoundly woven into the stuffs of our daily lives and obstinacy of these resources seem inevitable.

Today, Google records data from more than a billion Google users, more than three billion search queries a day, more than 425 million Gmail accounts, and traffic from an estimated one million websites, including almost half of the ten thousand most visited. I wanted to know the underlying bas
Clare O'Beara
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author looks at the present and future of identity on line. Every net search we make, stored and classified, tells some databank something about us, whether characteristics are correctly assumed or not. Referencing Frank Pasquale's term Black Box Society, a book I can recommend, the author describes the complex algorithms and various purposes that store and classify data about people, as individuals or groups.

Cheny-Lippold mentions that these judgements are used to show us specifically targ
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: really-liked
Disclosure: *Was given a copy of this book by the publisher for an honest opinion*

Wow.. how does one describe this book. The book synopsis definitely interested me but at the same time I wondered if it would be dry and bore me to death. The opposite was true! The author did a wonderful job at laying out an informational book on this subject. John Cheney-Lippold uses examples to show the reader how our advancement in technology, the masses of our personal data (perhaps collected through surveilla
Oct 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
I'm intrigued by some of the ideas in this book, but the writing makes it a real struggle to get through. ...more
Daniel Palevski
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book provides a lot of great insight into the datafied world we live in and creates a new language to help us navigate it. It's central topic is the dividual self which is generated algorithmically, and somewhat surreptitiously, via our tracked moves on electronic platforms are with electronic devices.

I don't think there's a whole lot of new information about data being collected about us, here, but the book closely examines how the interpretations of our collected data end up inadvertently
Deniz Cem Önduygu
This is not one of those fashionable, fun books about big data. This is an academic text dealing with the implications of our datafied age on categorization, control, subjectivity, and privacy (the section titles) written from a strongly continental stand, adopting the terminology of Foucault, Butler, Deleuze, etc. In this respect it was an outside-the-box experience for me because I usually prefer to keep my distance from the continental school, and reading how they confront the issue of datafi ...more
Jul 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
While I did learn a few things about the processes involved in big data, I ultimately had to put it down without taking away what I had assumed I would gain from the read.
Other reviews have mentioned some pretty heavily constructed sentences. I fully understand them and would tend to agree.

The book was on loan from a dear friend and unfortunately, I wasn't able to complete it before it was due for return.
Alexander Smith
Aug 26, 2020 rated it liked it
I almost want to give this book 2 reviews simultaneously. I feel as though this book does something particularly well that works for an audience it didn't intent. And yet, it works terribly for the audiences it does seem to approach. Because of this, I averaged my review of these two things. I will begin with the good:

This book should not be read as a "theory" of data science, formal "critique", "schema" of digital selves, "surveillance" textbook, or an book on digital "identity" theory. What it
Daniel Drexler
May 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
We are Data is a very readable (for the field) sociological text about the proscriptive powers of data-fied understandings of humanity. His work can be viewed as an extension of Foucault's work on biopolitics.

The book abley describes the way in which 'traits' (distinct from actual traits in that they are probabilistic and impossible to pin down) are assembled and related to us. We all have a 'gender,' which is to say there is a statistical definition of 'man' and 'woman' (and perhaps others), b
Anne Jamison
Oct 02, 2019 rated it liked it
The book seems designed to raise our awareness about how data collected about us gives us an identity that can be used by corporations and that may not correspond to our offline identity—but in fact the two cannot be very well separated. In turn our data and traffic helps shape the identity categories online. I want sure whether the author was nostalgic or idealistic about other more traditional forms of identity, or if simply concerned that these could be used for political action whereas onlin ...more
May 25, 2020 rated it did not like it
I gave up about 100 pages in and I never give up. But I did. I was excited about this book. Some scholars I follow praised it on social media. This is a topic I am profoundly interested in. And yet, I found it unreadable. It may be that I'm getting older and less tolerant of academic gibberish that papers over relatively simple ideas. So, unless all the insightful stuff is the other 200 pages that I did not read, there was really nothing there that I hadn't read somewhere else, except clearer an ...more
Rasmus Raspel
Dec 17, 2020 rated it liked it
The fact that this book is super heavy on the reading part does not diminish the value of the brilliant research that birthed it. I didn’t exactly learn anyting new as my grad school training had a great overview of Cheney-Lippold’s work, but it is always challenging and exciting to follow his well formed ideas poppin up and tying off loose ends in later chapters well after an idea was introduced. I guess I empathise the frustration of many reviews that fail to see the brilliance due to the acad ...more
August Bourré
Not terrible, but disappointing. Privacy and gender, as concepts, do a lot of heavy lifting they maybe shouldn’t, and the chapters aren’t clearly differentiated enough. Jumps between clear writing and heavy jargon use, and often appears to be a survey more than an argument. Mostly (but not entirely) ignores other writers working on these issues now in favour of philosophers who wrote about adjacent issues decades ago.
Daniel Alt
Very difficult style to understand but good concepts and examples
John Blais
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read only fifteen or so pages. It wasn't what I thought the book would be about. ...more
Christina Zamora
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Dec 25, 2018
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Subhajit Das
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Dec 07, 2019
Mohammad Takriti
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Emily Jayne
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John Cheney-Lippold is Assistant Professor of American Culture and Digital Studies at the University of Michigan.

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