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Author: Paško Bilić

Title of article: A Critique of the Political Economy of Algorithms: Brief History of Google’s Technological Rationality

Journal: Westminster Advanced Studies, Issue No. 5

Editor: Christian Fuchs, WIAS Director

Publisher: Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies (WIAS)

Year: 2017

In the article, Paško Bilić, PhD, argues that the debate about the irrational consequences of rationality discussed within the tradition of the Frankfurt School, and applied to technology and machinery in the concept of technological rationality (Marcuse 1941; 1960; 1964; 1965), can help us better understand and criticize contemporary algorithmic capitalism. He presents the example of Google (Alphabet Inc.) and analyses various documents published in the period between 2004 and 2016. He argues that the company developed on the foundation of three different rationalities: organizational rationality of flexible management values and labour utilization; informational rationality of generating value from advertising and audience labour; and technological rationality of surplus value accumulation based on reification of labour and consciousness. The company produces two main types of commodities: audience commodity and algorithmic commodity.


Full text: Westminster Advanced Studies

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