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Toward an Algorithmic Rhetoric

Toward an Algorithmic Rhetoric
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Author(s): Chris Ingraham (University of Colorado at Boulder, USA)
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 18
Source title: Digital Rhetoric and Global Literacies: Communication Modes and Digital Practices in the Networked World
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Gustav Verhulsdonck (University of Texas at El Paso, USA) and Marohang Limbu (Michigan State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4916-3.ch003


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Insofar as algorithms are digital problem-solving operations that follow a set of rules or processes to arrive at a result, they are constrained by the rules that determine their parameters for operating. While an algorithm can only operate according to its instructions, however, the potential rules that might govern an algorithm are inexhaustible. An algorithm's design thus makes rhetorical choices that privilege the importance of some information or desired outcomes over others. This chapter argues for a way of thinking about algorithmic rhetoric as macro-, meso-, and micro-rhetorical. Along these lines, it would be beneficial to think more about algorithms as digital rhetorics with terrific power to sway what counts as knowledge, truth, and material reality in the everyday lives of people across an astonishing range of global communities in the twenty-first century.

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