Digital Valuation: Lessons in relevance from the prototyping of a recommendation app

Lury, Celia; Day, Sophie E.; Simon, Andre; Tironi, Martín; Valderrama, Matías and Wark, Scott. 2024. Digital Valuation: Lessons in relevance from the prototyping of a recommendation app. Valuation Studies, 11(1), pp. 38-59. ISSN 2001-5992 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article describes the use of a prototype recommendation app to explore how users are included and/or excluded in categories of various kinds of ‘People Like You’. In the study, interviews with users of the prototype app indicate that the experience of receiving personalized recommendations isroutinely evaluated in terms of relevance, that is, as either of interest to them or as beside the point, as accurate or inaccurate, with accuracy often understood as recognition of their context(s). We build on the interviews to develop an analysis which suggests that the capacity of recommendation systems to make relevant recommendations is a function of the parallel projections – from the app on one side and users on the other – that are made as part of an interaction order. In developing this analysis, we reflect on the implications of the interaction order for the inclusion and exclusion of users in categories or kinds of people. We highlight the importance of the temporal formatting of interaction as a continuous present for the relation between belonging and belongings, and thus for the creation of a datasset (Beauvisage and Mellett 2020).

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The project ‘Algorithmic Identities’ was conducted under the auspices of the Fondecyt project N°1180062: ‘Datafication of urban environments and individuals: an analysis of the designs, practices and discourses of the production and management of digital data in Chile’, and the project ʻ“People Like You”: Contemporary Figures of Personalisation’, funded by a Collaborative Award in the Medical Humanities and Social Sciences from the Wellcome Trust Foundation 2018–2022 (205456/Z/16/Z). It was also supported by the award of ‘Interdisciplinary Research 2018 Funding’ from the Vice-Rectory for Research (VRI) of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

This work was supported by the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (Fondecyt), Ministry of Education, Government of Chile, Fondecyt Grant N°1210006; the Nucleus Millenium Futures of Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) N°NCS2022_065.


digital valuation, prototype, relevance, recommendation system, classification

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


2 May 2024Published

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Date Deposited:

03 May 2024 11:54

Last Modified:

03 May 2024 11:55

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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