Recommended for you: The Netflix Prize and the production of algorithmic culture Journal Article uri icon



  • How does algorithmic information processing affect the meaning of the word culture, and, by extension, cultural practice? We address this question by focusing on the Netflix Prize (2006–2009), a contest offering US$1m to the first individual or team to boost the accuracy of the company’s existing movie recommendation system by 10%. Although billed as a technical challenge intended for engineers, we argue that the Netflix Prize was equally an effort to reinterpret the meaning of culture in ways that overlapped with, but also diverged in important respects from, the three dominant senses of the term assayed by Raymond Williams. Thus, this essay explores the conceptual and semantic work required to render algorithmic information processing systems legible as forms of cultural decision making. It also then represents an effort to add depth and dimension to the concept of “algorithmic culture.”

publication date

  • January 1, 2016

has restriction

  • hybrid

Date in CU Experts

  • January 21, 2017 4:41 AM

Full Author List

  • Hallinan B; Striphas T

author count

  • 2

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1461-4448

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1461-7315

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 117

end page

  • 137


  • 18


  • 1