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During this event, Matthew Plummer-Fernandez and Filip Visnjic took the audience on an exploration of the contemporary culture of algorithms, and showed how so-called 'learning algorithms' play a growing role in our life. 

Algorithms are the instructions that enable computers to accomplish their tasks. To a certain extent, learning algorithms are able to set their own rules. They can make predictions about the future, based on a mathematical model of the environment in which they are used, such as traffic. They are then able to continue to refine the model based on observations. In so doing, they can make increasingly accurate predictions.

Learning algorithms are used in more and more areas. They learn to predict heart problems based on medical data. They play an important role in stock trading. They are widely used to optimise the placement of online advertisements, and they are also used in agriculture, for example to increase the yields. 


  • Filip Visnjic is editor of, a leading blog on digital art and culture, and editor of HOLO, a magazine about art, science and technology.
  • Matthew Plummer-Fernandez (Goldsmiths, University of London) is currently doing a PhD with a thesis on the socio-cultural role of algorithms. He investigates how algorithms, autonomous bots and automation increasingly permeate our lives. The British-Columbian artist received an Award of Distinction at the Prix Ars Electronica in 2014. More info on two blogs run by Plummer Fernandez: #agopop and Novice Art Blogger

This programme was organised in collaboration with FIBER festival

15:00 – 17:00

Room 1
Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam

Garden of Machines
Klaas Kuitenbrouwer
Wikke van Houwelingen, Roel Huisman
Rudy Guedj
Florentijn Boddendijk and Remco de Jong
Sedumworld BV, Dykstra Naval Architects, Nationaal Medisch Museum, VU Medisch Centrum, Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam, Mediamatic, Florastore BV, Carolien Slottje, TU Delft, Vogelbescherming Nederland

This project is part of the programme track Annual themes and the folder World Expo.

The exhibition GLASS does not only show the evolution of the oldest man-made material, but also how glass has been an engine of progress for centuries.