Online Databite May 4 2023

Ima Put a Computational Hex on You

Databite No. 155

Shaka McGlotten

“Computational Hex is a heuristic that invokes the ambivalent pleasures and compelled habits of the algorithmic ordinary including, especially, its raced and gendered articulations.” – Shaka McGlotten

Drawing on literary histories of the doppelgänger and emphasizing the ambivalent dis/enchantments of the algorithmic ordinary, Shaka McGlotten considers the invisible forces that animate the versions of ourselves and others that come to life as “data” forms. Reflecting on recent developments in AI, including data-twins and ChatGPT, McGlotten emphasizes the witchy, weird, and queer entanglements of identities, bodies, and the many other intra-actants that help comprise data doubles – the surveilling gazes of corporations and states, as well as the diverse affects induced by discussions with chatbots. They ask: How might the notion of the computational hex help us to understand histories of algorithmic sorting, or the anxieties and pleasures attendant to digital rabbit holes?

This Public Keynote was part of Digital Doppelgängers, a Data & Society workshop organized in May, 2023 by Livia Garofalo, Ireti Akinrinade, Siera Dissmore, and Jenna Burrell.




Production Siera Dissmore & Rigoberto Lara Guzmán
Concept: Iretiolu Akinrinade & Livia Garofalo
Editorial: Eryn Loeb
Web layout: Alessa Erawan
Design: Gloria Mendoza

Additional support and guidance was provided by CJ Brody Landow and Jenna Burrell