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The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
Cover of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power
Borrow Borrow
The challenges to humanity posed by the digital future, the first detailed examination of the unprecedented form of power called "surveillance capitalism," and the quest by powerful corporations to predict and control our behavior.
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.
The challenges to humanity posed by the digital future, the first detailed examination of the unprecedented form of power called "surveillance capitalism," and the quest by powerful corporations to predict and control our behavior.
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.
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About the Author-
  • Shoshana Zuboff is the Charles Edward Wilson Professor emerita, Harvard Business School. She is the author of In The Age of the Smart Machine: the Future of Work and Power and The Support Economy: Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and her BA from the University of Chicago. For more information see: ShoshanaZuboff.com.
    @shoshanazuboff
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    November 1, 2018
    An argument that Google and other internet-based firms are creating a new form of capitalism based on the monetizing of human experience."Digital connection is now a means to others' commercial ends," writes Zuboff (Business Administration/Harvard Business School; In The Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power, 1988). In a 2014 essay, the author first described the "profoundly undemocratic social force" she calls surveillance capitalism. In this exhaustive, often repetitive elaboration, the author defines the concept as "a new market form that claims human experience as a free source of raw material for hidden commercial practices." Later in the book, she elaborates: "Every casual search, like, and click [becomes] an asset to be tracked, parsed, and monetized by some company." This relentless search for and use of personal data is not happenstance or an inevitable result of digital technology. Rather, it is a "calculated," little-noticed pursuit by commercial interests--acting under the guise of a utopian vision for the internet--to create "prediction products" that "anticipate what you will do now, soon, and later" and are traded in the marketplace. Invented by Google, adopted by Facebook and Microsoft, and with evidence that Amazon engages in it, the "unprecedented" market form is poised to become the "dominant" shape of capitalism, abrogating "the peoples' right to a human future." The shift from "serving users to surveilling them" occurred at a time of diminished government oversight and regulation and the post-9/11 emphasis on security over privacy. Based on research and interviews, the author thoughtfully examines the economic and philosophical implications of surveillance capitalism; warns that our children, in their ceaseless quest for connectivity, are harbingers of what lies ahead; and urges public outrage over the theft of our humanity. Other topics include Pokémon Go and behaviorist B.F. Skinner and his acolytes.A big, sprawling, and alarming case for "the darkening of the digital dream." This will appeal to specialists; general readers will wish it were much shorter.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • AudioFile Magazine Shoshana Zuboff offers a well-researched and detailed examination of a global framework that, in her view, threatens everyone who employs even a trace of Internet-based technology. The highly accomplished and experienced Nicol Zanzarella applies her impressive skills; her narration is, at once, sincere, powerful, intense, and deeply personal. Zuboff coins the term "surveillance capitalism" to describe the business model that catalogues and uses our every move, action, and desire; she argues through Zanzarella that we each must do our utmost to battle against it with full awareness of the way it surrounds us. The author's strong feelings are well served by Zanzarella's clear narration, with its tone of intrigue and intention. W.A.G. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
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The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power
Shoshana Zuboff
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