Past Event

The Statistical Subject in the Age of Data

May 10, 2018
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Event time is displayed in your time zone.
Jerome Greene Hall (Room 908), Columbia University, 435 West 116th Street, New York

How are quiet statisticians changing our world? Are they still taming chance, as Ian Hacking has contended? New decisional statistics are seeking less to discriminate people into categories (that create identity group constraints) than to extract, from massive data that collects the most anodyne things of our lives, a knowledge about our most private desires. What do Markov Chains, which allows Google to create a score that ranks the Internet’s every page, teach us about our data world and its rationality? What does the new correlations of the algorithms of the Machine Learning teach us about our desires? What does the Brownian movement, related to Markov Chains, tell us about our contemporary shape of chance? What becomes of subjectivity in the age of data when our desires are predicted in their objective reality by algorithms? How should we understand the “contagion” between a “machinical” functioning and the subjectivity in the age of data?

Retracing the powerful moments of the history of probabilities, the aim of this workshop is to show that the data world is freeing itself from the probabilistic world and, drawing from this analysis, to better pinpoint our data world. In particular, Michel Foucault and Ian Hacking have very well described the emergence and the conditions of possibility of the probabilistic world; man and language are consequently promoted in Western culture. A contemporary statistical subject emerges from this liberation, beyond – as well as below – links of probability and causality. It thus becomes necessary to figure out what is at stake now.

This workshop is free and open to the public. Please register by emailing Anna Krauthamer at [email protected]. Lunch will be served.

  • Speaker: Dominique Deprins, Visiting Scholar at Columbia Law School
  • Commentator: Edouard Delruelle, Professor in Political Philosophy at the University of Liège (Belgium)
  • Moderator: Bernard E. Harcourt, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School