Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Critical Digital HumanitiesThe Search for a Methodology$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

James E. Dobson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042270

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042270.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 18 January 2020

The Cultural Significance of k-NN

The Cultural Significance of k-NN

Chapter:
(p.101) Chapter 4 The Cultural Significance of k-NN
Source:
Critical Digital Humanities
Author(s):

James E. Dobson

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252042270.003.0004

This chapter turns to a lower level of computation to produce a cultural critique and historicization of one of the most important algorithms used in digital humanities and other big-data applications in the present moment, the k-nearest neighbor or k-NN algorithm. The chapter reconstructs the partial genealogy, the intellectual history, of this important algorithm that was key to sense making in the midtwentieth century and has found continued life in the twenty-first century. In both its formalized description, its exposition in the papers introducing and refining the rule and its implementation in algorithmic form, and its actual use, the k-nearest neighbor algorithm draws on dominant midtwentieth-century ideologies and tropes, including partitioning, segregation, suburbanization, and democratization. In the process of situating the k-NN algorithm within the larger field containing other residual and emergent statistical methods, the author seeks to produce an intervention within the developing critical theory of algorithmic governmentality.

Keywords:   algorithms, algorithm studies, critical code studies, algorithmic governmentality, knowledge discovery tools, Bayesian statistics, bias, k-nearest neighbor

Illinois Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.