The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

The Fight for A Human Future at the New Frontier of Power

Book - 2019 | First edition.
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"In this masterwork of original thinking and research, Shoshana Zuboff provides startling insights into the phenomenon that she has named surveillance capitalism. The stakes could not be higher: a global architecture of behavior modification threatens human nature in the twenty-first century just as industrial capitalism disfigured the natural world in the twentieth. Zuboff vividly brings to life the consequences as surveillance capitalism advances from Silicon Valley into every economic sector. Vast wealth and power are accumulated in ominous new "behavioral futures markets," where predictions about our behavior are bought and sold, and the production of goods and services is subordinated to a new "means of behavioral modification." The threat has shifted from a totalitarian Big Brother state to a ubiquitous digital architecture: a "Big Other" operating in the interests of surveillance capital. Here is the crucible of an unprecedented form of power marked by extreme concentrations of knowledge and free from democratic oversight. Zuboff's comprehensive and moving analysis lays bare the threats to twenty-first century society: a controlled "hive" of total connection that seduces with promises of total certainty for maximum profit-at the expense of democracy, freedom, and our human future. With little resistance from law or society, surveillance capitalism is on the verge of dominating the social order and shaping the digital future--if we let it."--Dust jacket.
Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781610395694
Branch Call Number: 306.3 ZUBOFF
Characteristics: x, 691 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Jul 15, 2019

This is one of the best books I read on this issue. Zubbof analysis and synthesis is deep and convincing.

Yes, our humanity will be exploited in a new capitalism and we must do something about it.

If you believe you are the customer of the likes of Facebook or Google, you are wrong. You are just the raw material and your behaviour is being processed to be sold to payers.

We are just trading our free will, privacy, individuality and human nature for convenience, utility and being connected.

The World must become conscious about this. We must regulate this surveillance capitalism and we must find ways to maintain independence from being enslaved to its greed.

Jun 29, 2019

Useful nuggets of insight in the mechanics of digital activity buried in a lagoon of whine. A replay of griping about commercials on radio or TV. You accept manipulation and intrusion for a "free" product, or pay for it. Period.

No one is forced to consume digital products. If you choose to use "free" versions, your data is fair game. Get over it.

Jun 27, 2019

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism offers no corporate lawyer speak or political doubletalk. Zuboff lays it on the line. The menu proffered by Silicon Valley is wholly unappetizing. When the predominant population of a society is ignorant (voluntarily or otherwise) of the pervasiveness of surveillance, the foundational element of trust disintegrates. A tsunami of surveillance minutiae producing a delusional imperative to catalog, categorize and fashion into a predictive tool the aforementioned, leads to a fruitless, addictive obsession. The density and opaqueness of the sensory information fog results in paralysis of group dynamism. Inevitably surveillance escalation mimics a vacuous exercise. Moreover, not to be overlooked, is the pernicious, collateral visceral imperative to have one's behavior constantly exposed so that, hopefully, society will deem it worthwhile and inspiring; thus, justification for our daily frivolities as seminal constructive events, ipso facto, vanquishing any possibility of loneliness or depression arising from notions of isolation ('Nobody cares about me!).

IndyPL_TomP Jun 04, 2019

"An unavoidable takeaway of 'The Age of Surveillance Capitalism' is, essentially, that everything is even worse than you thought. Even if you’ve followed the news items and historical trends that gird Zuboff’s analysis, her telling takes what look like privacy overreaches and data blunders, and recasts them as the intentional movements of a global system designed to violate you as a revenue stream." Opinion piece by Sam Biddle in The Intercept.

SCL_Justin Apr 27, 2019

A big part of my job as a digital literacy librarian is teaching people how to use their electronic devices, ideally in a safe manner that protects them from predators. This book showed how futile that effort is. Zuboff looks at the way the modern internet has been built and why it is so terrible for real live humans and great for soulless corporations who are endeavouring to plunder every facet of their users' lives the way fossil fuel companies have laid waste to the planet. What we do in privacy tool classes at the library is the equivalent of getting individuals to bike to work while letting the tar sands grow and profit by killing our future. It's terrible and I suggest reading this book, which is thick but accessible. My biggest quibble is that Zuboff seems to have less of a problem with capitalism that isn't built on surveillance than I do.

Mar 14, 2019

Detailed summary of the intrusion of "smart" items into the personal lives of everyone using them.

This is a thick book, but important. If nothing else, read the definitions of Surveillance Capitalism in the front, plus the definition of the problem in the first pages.

The author did an excellent book talk on this book on C-SPAN2 in January. It should be available online.


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