Scicomm Cocoa Talk №6. Nikolay Rudenko: Campbell's Law, or Why Implementing Technologies Often Leads to Unexpected Results

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On July 16, starting from 7.30pm, ITMO University's Center for Science Communication will host its sixth online talk. 

Campbell's law has long become a classic in economics and politics. It tell us that the more we let ourselves be guided by some social indicator when making decisions, the more this indicator will be distorted and will itself distort the processes it's supposed to reflect. In other words, once some indicator starts to be applied to assess the effectiveness of some action, the misuse of this indicator immediately follows. This is connected to the fact that people are reflexive creatures that tend to use any indicators in their best interests. 

In his lecture on July 16, Nikolay Rudenko will talk about how this law can be applied to the implementation of technologies. After all, technologies (especially the modern, smart ones) are typically introduced to increase the effectiveness of something. Oftentimes, though, this efficiency boost never occurs, and what occurs instead is that people, as objects of such technologies, begin to reflexively and creatively use the algorithms these contain. This leads to the result opposite to what was initially intended. 

You will see this process exemplified with several cases (including digital technologies in policing, self-driving cars, and others) and learn what they all have in common. 

Nikolay Rudenko will also share how to prevent Campbell's law coming into effect and what role developers and user-led research have in this process. 

Nikolay Rudenko is a PhD in sociological sciences, a research associate at the Science and Technology Studies Center of the European University at St. Petersburg, and a lecturer in the Science and Technologies in Society Master's program. 

Please register here to attend. Everyone registered will be sent the link to the live stream several hours before it starts. 


Everyone is very welcome to attend. 


ITMO University's Center for Science Communication


ITMO University's Center for Science Communication