The impact of algorithms on the public sphere
The current technological context of hyperconnectivity brings significant challenges to the protection of fundamental rights and to contemporary ethics, with the capacity to impact, ultimately, democracy itself. In that context, the action of algorithms can be seen in a much broader and complex context of action and decision. Algorithms today not only predict upcoming best-seller books, but also suggest our future loving partners, influence our electoral decisions, make death threats, decide who should be imprisoned, and buy illegal drugs on the Deep Web. In this sense, it is not enough just to realize the ability of algorithms to act and decide as human beings, it is necessary to think about how the public sphere is being influenced by these agents capable of shaping, structuring and mediating the way we interact. The analysis of a public sphere, based on human communicative rationality, need new epistemological and ontological lenses to rethink assumptions about agency, transparency and normativity upon understanding the influence and interactions of those non-human agents, to ensure appropriate ethical guidelines to the advances of hyperconnectivity. The theoretical frameworks chosen for this analysis are Jurgen Habermas’s concept of public sphere and communicative action in contrast with the contributions of Karen Barad's theories about new materialisms, with the purpose of becoming an university paper.