Google’s PageRank Algorithm: a diagram of cognitive capitalism and the rentier of the common intellect

March 12th, 2014

Abstract. The origin of Google’s power and monopoly is to be traced to the invisible algorithm PageRank. The diagram of this technology is proposed here as the most fitting description of the value machine at the core of what is diversely called knowledge economy, attention economy or cognitive capitalism. This essay stresses the need of a political economy of the PageRank algorithm rather than expanding the dominant critique of Google’s monopoly based on the Panopticon model and similar ‘Big Brother’ issues (dataveillance, privacy, political censorship).

 

Matteo Pasquinelli, “Google’s PageRank Algorithm: A Diagram of Cognitive Capitalism and the Rentier of the Common Intellect”, in Konrad Becker, Felix Stalder (eds) Deep Search, London: Transaction Publishers: 2009. +PDF

German trans.: “Googles PageRank: Diagramm des kognitiven Kapitalismus und Rentier des gemeinsamen Wissens”, in: Konrad Becker, Felix Stalder (eds) Deep Search: Politik des Suchens jenseits von Google, Wien: Studien Verlag, 2009. +PDF

Italian trans.: “L’algoritmo PageRank di Google: diagramma del capitalismo cognitivo e rentier dell’intelletto comune” in F. Chicchi and G. Roggero (eds) Sociologia del lavoro, Milano: Franco Angeli, 2009. +PDF

Japanese trans.: グーグル〈ページランク〉のアルゴリズム 認知資本主義のダイアグラムと 〈共通知〉 の寄食者 レンティア, in: Gendai-Shiso 01/2011. +WEB

Portuguese trans.: “O algoritmo pagerank da Google: um diagrama do capitalismo cognitivo e da exploração da inteligência social geral”, Uninomade Brazil, May 2012. +WEB +PDF

French trans.: “Google Pagerank, una machine de valorisation et d’exploitation de l’attention”, in: Yves Citton (ed.), L’économie de l’attention. Nouvel horizon du capitalisme?, Paris: La Découverte, 2014.  +WEB +ePub

 

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