Algorithms Are Like Kirk, Not Spock

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.

Three icons: one representing a museum building displayed on a laptop screen; one displaying a number of people holding maker and DIY tools; and one representing a toolbox with a variety of science-themed objects inside. Dotted arrow lines connect the three images to one another.

Using digital storytelling to grapple with scientific progress

Researchers at Arizona State University have received a four-year, $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to use the interactive, engaging nature of digital narratives to invite deeper conversations about questions of scientific creativity and responsibility.