Traces the revolution in statistics that gave rise to artificial intelligence and predictive algorithms refiguring contemporary capitalism.
Our finances, politics, media, opportunities, information, shopping and knowledge production are mediated through algorithms and their statistical approaches to knowledge; increasingly, these methods form the organizational backbone of contemporary capitalism. Revolutionary Mathematics traces the revolution in statistics and probability that has quietly underwritten the explosion of machine learning, big data and predictive algorithms that now decide many aspects of our lives. Exploring shifts in the philosophical understanding of probability in the late twentieth century, Joque shows how this was not merely a technical change but a wholesale philosophical transformation in the production of knowledge and the extraction of value. This book provides a new and unique perspective on the dangers of allowing artificial intelligence and big data to manage society. It is essential reading for those who want to understand the underlying ideological and philosophical changes that have fueled the rise of algorithms and convinced so many to blindly trust their outputs, reshaping our current political and economic situation.
“Revolutionary Mathematics critically explores the mathematical systems behind the machinery of abstraction that drives capitalism today—in particular, the machine learning algorithms at the heart of the global platform economy. In linking Marxist theories of real abstraction to mathematical paradigms, such as Bayesian statistics, this challenging work equips critical thought with the tools to contest the hidden codes that run our world.”
—Alex Williams, University of East Anglia
“I have never before read a book on statistics at one gulp, but Justin Joque’s investigation into the mathematical premises of algorithmic capital is a tour de force of radical forensics as compelling as any noir thriller.”
—Nick Dyer-Witheford, University of Western Ontario
“While almost everyone today is a critic of the capricious algorithms that saturate our lives, Joque takes us into the metaphysical underpinnings of these systems: the statistical methods that provide a phantom objectivity to machine learning, financial derivatives, and even scientific research writ large. Both intensely focused and rich with philosophical asides, Revolutionary Mathematics is an original and vital contribution towards understanding—and overcoming—digitized capitalism and its manifold oppressions.”
—Gavin Mueller, author of Breaking Things at Work