Editors’ Choice: Image Processing and Software Epistemology

Turning everything into data, and using algorithms to process is analyze it has a number of major consequences for what it means to know something. It creates new strategies which together make up software epistemology. Epistemology is a branch of philosophy which asks questions such as what is knowledge, how it can acquired, and to what extent a subject can be known. Digital code, algorithms, machine learning, big data, social media, faster processors and larger storage, and other parts of modern techno-social universe introduce new ways of acquiring knowledge, in the process redefining what it means to know something.

if you have some information, its always possible to invent new algorithms (or new ways to scale existing algorithms to analyze big data faster) which can analyze the information in ways the previous algorithms could not. You can extract additional patterns and also generate new information from the existing data.

Algorithms and software applications which analyze images and video provide particularly striking examples of the ability to generate additional information from the data years or even decades after it was recorded.

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This content was selected for Digital Humanities Now by Editor-in-Chief based on nominations by Editors-at-Large: