DIKU Bits: The Emergence of Algorithmic Bureaucracy: How algorithmic tools change the Public Sector

Insight, inspiration, motivation

On 11 January the Software, Data, People & Society (SDPS) section at Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen, will give a DIKU Bits lecture.


Cathrine Seidelin, PostDoc in the Software Data People & Society section at the Department of Computer Science


The Emergence of Algorithmic Bureaucracy: How algorithmic tools change the Public Sector


Public authorities are increasingly adopting a variety of algorithmic tools to improve service delivery. These tools have profound impact on how work is organized in the public sector. This talk will focus on the ongoing transformation from “traditional bureaucracy” to what I describe as “algorithmic bureaucracy”. I will talk about ways in which algorithmic tools do not simply replace people but transform the socio-technical relationship between workers and their tools, as well as how that work is organized. I will also discuss how algorithmic auditing may be a useful approach to ensure greater transparency and explainability of algorithmic tools that are (or will be) implemented in the public sector.


Which courses do you teach?

I teach the Digital Platforms, Media, and Communication course at the MSc in Communication and IT. 

Which technology/research/projects/startup are you excited to see the evolution of?

I’m excited to see projects such as the German-based NGO “AlgorithmWatch” (https://algorithmwatch.org/en/) that specifically address the implications of automated decision-making systems and their impact on society. I think it’s interesting to follow how these forms of organizations emerge and (perhaps) influence the debate and policy on AI in society. 

What is your favorite sketch from the DIKUrevy? Unfortunately, I have never attended DIKUrevyen, so I can’t say.

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