Future Tense is the citizen’s guide to the future. A partnership among Arizona State University, Slate and the New America Foundation, Future Tense explores emerging technologies and their transformative effects on society and public policy.
When technologists describe their hotshot new system for trading stocks or driving cars, the algorithm at its heart always seems to emerge from a magical realm of Spock-like rationality and mathematical perfection. Algorithms can save lives or make money, the argument goes, because they are built on the foundations of mathematics: logical rigor, conceptual clarity, and utter consistency. Math is perfect, right? And algorithms are made out of math.