If you are here, I suppose you're familiar with algorithms. Probably your job consists in creating them. What you should know is that every sequence of operations that we accomplish is an algorithm.
What students learn in Computer Science classes is to create generic algorithms (such as the quicksort graphically explained in the image above). Then, when they start to work, new specific algorithms must be created.
Nowadays, especially with the advent of the so called Internet of Things, special purpose algorithms are everywhere - and the control we have on them is very limited. Take a look to the following TED talk:
Surprised about the "Flash Crash of 2:45"? Well, if at Wall Street a software is able to make decisions based on few data, an algorithm that analyzes big data can surely vote in a board of directors, right?
Image by en:User:RolandH licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license