TU Wien Informatics

20 Years

Virgilio Almeida: Algorithmic Institutionalism

  • 2024-03-19
  • Public Lecture
  • Event

Virgilio Almeida introduces a new concept viewing algorithms as emerging institutions in modern societies.

Virgilio Almeida: Algorithmic Institutionalism

  • This is an online-only event.
    See description for details.


In the presentation, we introduce an innovative idea: algorithms can be seen as emerging institutions in modern societies. They function as rule sets shaping norms and environments for both humans and machines. As a result, algorithms impact individual behaviors and have broader societal effects. We illustrate this concept by examining examples of algorithms used in public security, government platforms, and recommendation systems across different domains. Our conclusion emphasizes the need to democratize algorithms, similar to how other complex institutions have been democratized in the past, to mitigate the risks they present to contemporary societies.

About Virgilio Almeida

Virgilio Almeida is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). He is also Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University. He held visiting positions in several universities and research labs, such as Harvard University (School of Engineering and Applied Sciences), New York University, Boston University, Santa Fe Institute HP Labs. Almeida is co-author of five books covering topics such as web technologies, e-commerce, performance modeling, and capacity planning, published by Prentice Hall. He is also the author of “Governance for the Digital World,” published by Palgrave MacMillan, and his most recent book is “Algorithmic Institutionalism: The Changing Rules of Social and Political Life,” published by Oxford University Press. Almeida served as one of the commissioners of the Global Commission for the Stability of Cyberspace. His current research interests revolve around social computing, governance of algorithms, the social impact of AI, and modeling and analysis of large-scale distributed systems.

About Hannes Werthner

Hannes Werthner is a retired Professor for E-Commerce at the Faculty of Informatics, TU Wien. Prior to joining TU Wien, he had several professorships at Austrian and international Universities. His research is in several fields such as Decision Support Systems, E-Commerce, E-Tourism, Recommender Systems, and lately in Network Analysis and Text Mining. Besides research and teaching he is active in starting new initiatives, such as the Vienna PhD School of Informatics and the i2c (Informatics Innovation Center). In the area of E-Tourism, the International Federation for IT and Tourism (IFITT) grants the “Hannes Werthner Tourism and Technology Lifetime Achievement Award” to outstanding academics and/or professionals in the field.

Online Event

We are looking forward to seeing you:

  • Participate via Zoom (meeting: 9638 9928 143, password: 0dzqxqiy).
  • The talk will also be live streamed and recorded on our YouTube Channel.
  • For further announcements and information, please visit the DIGHUM Website, which also provides slides and recordings of all our past events.

The DIGHUM Lecture Series

Digital Humanism deals with the complex relationship between man and machine. It acknowledges the potential of Informatics and IT. At the same time, it points to related apparent threats such as privacy violations, ethical concerns with AI, automation, and loss of jobs, and the ongoing monopolization on the Web. The Corona crisis has shown these two faces of the accelerated digitalization—we are in a crucial moment in time.

For this reason, we started the DIGHUM Lecture Series, a new initiative with regular online events to discuss the different aspects of Digital Humanism. We will have a speaker on a specific topic (30 minutes) followed by a discussion of 30 minutes every second Tuesday of each month at 5:00 PM CEST. This crisis seriously affects our mobility, but it also offers the possibility to participate in events from all over the world—let’s take this chance to meet virtually.

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