In this context I mean “play” in the sense of uncaring manipulation.
“As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods”
For gods read algorithms.
That kind of thing.
I keep thinking about the primer books I read on economics for my undergrad degree. I learnt about the Black-Scholes Equation and how human judgement was deferred to algorithms. When incidents were happening that were outside of the scope of the formula, it wasn’t captured. Bankers then based their actions on information that didn’t truly reflect market risk. This eventually lead to the 2008 financial crisis.
This narrative is debateable but it still shows the power of algorithms as social actors.