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Elena Esposito

Elena Esposito
Elena Esposito is Professor of Sociology at the University Bielefeld and at the University Modena-Reggio Emilia. Working in a systems theory framework, she studies problems of time in social systems, including memory and forgetting, probability, fashion and transience, fiction, and the use of time in finance. Her current research projects focus on a sociology of algorithms and specifically on forms and consequences of algorithmic prediction.Esposito's recent publications include Artificial Communication? The Production of Contingency by Algorithms. Zeitschrift für Soziologie (2017); Algorithmic memory and the right to be forgotten on the web. Big Data & Society (2017), and Critique without crisis: Systems theory as a critical sociology. Thesis Eleven (2017).
The future of prediction. From statistical uncertainty to algorithmic forecast
Dans le cadre du « Séminaire de Philosophie économique » de Miriam Teschl et Feriel Kandil (AMU).
Algorithmic prediction is very different from the idea of prediction established in modern society since the 18th century. Whereas in the modern view the future is open and unknowable because it does not yet exit and depends on present actions and expectations, predictive algorithms promise to know the future in advance. Machine learning, although using almost exactly the same tools as statistics, nonetheless, has some resemblance to the magical and divinatory mentality of pre-modern societies. Like divination, algorithmic prediction does not address averages and general trends, but attempts to give precise indications about the future of a single event or individual on which it directly intervenes. This is the source of the power and of the specific liabilities of algorithmic prediction, connected to risks of pre-emption and overfitting. In these cases, the prediction, even if correct, may prove ineffective or even harmful.

Vendredi 3 mai 2019 de 10h à 12h — EHESS Marseille, Aix-Marseille School of Economics (AMSE), Site Ilôt Bernard Dubois (IBD), Salle 15, 5-9 Bd Maurice Bourdet, Marseille

Money is time!
Dans le cadre du séminaire « La Philosophie de l’argent » de Barbara Carnevali (CESPRA) et Isabelle Kalinowski (CNRS-Pays Germaniques).
As Georg Simmel observed, money is a powerful agent of homogenization, which makes very different goods comparable by translating them into a quantitative expression: their monetary value. This homogenization can also be extended to time: meaning and function of money lie in a temporal delay, in the possibility it offers for using time to increase decision and choice options. Money, that you can spend when you want and how you want – even in ways you don't know now yet – represents in its abstractness the generality of possible needs. You cannot know what needs will arise in the future, but if you have money you know that you will be able to satisfy them. You need money because you don't know what you will need. Facing an uncertain future, therefore, money is never enough.

Mardi 7 mai de 11h à 13h — EHESS, salle 8, 105 bd Raspail, 75006 Paris

Algorithmic memory and the right to be forgotten on the web
Dans le cadre du « Groupe de lecture en épistémologie sociale », animé par Gloria Origgi & Serena Ciranna (Institut Jean Nicod).
The debate on the right to be forgotten on Google involves the relationship between human information processing and digital processing by algorithms. The specificity of digital memory is not so much its often discussed inability to forget. What distinguishes digital memory is, instead, its ability to process information without understanding. The specificity of algorithmic processing makes it possible to bypass the paradox of remembering to forget, which up to now blocked any human-based forgetting technique. Working differently from human intelligence, algorithms can implement, for the first time, the classical insight that it might be possible to reinforce forgetting not by erasing memories but by multiplying them.

Mardi 14 mai 2019  de 15h à 17h  ENS, Salle Langevin, 24 rue Lhomond, 75005 Paris (suivre les directions pour le Bâtiment Jaurès)

In and out. Fashion and the culture of transitoriness
Dans le cadre du séminaire « Mode et moralité » d’Emanuele Coccia (CRAL/CEHTA).
Fashion, often regarded as frivolous, is actually an enigmatic topic. It emerged dramatically in the course of the 17th century, signaling the riddles and the fascination of modern society. Within the fields ruled by fashion (which does not concern only clothes), our choices and preferences are guided by something that is not stable but constantly changes. Fashion relies on transitoriness (from in to out) – and transitoriness even becomes a value. Fashion signals the prevalence of appearance on substance, of common opinion (what the others like) on authority, of transience on stability. It announces a social order radically different from the traditional one, which affects our big and small everyday decisions and changes our relationship with the world and with society. 

Mercredi 15 mai 2019 de 11h à 13h — INHA, salle Benjamin, 6 rue des Petits-Champs, 75002 Paris