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The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The…
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The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the… (Original 2019; 2019. Auflage)

von Shoshana Zuboff (Autor)

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8772018,817 (4.02)15
"Shoshana Zuboff, named "the true prophet of the information age" by the Financial Times, has always been ahead of her time. Her seminal book In the Age of the Smart Machine foresaw the consequences of a then-unfolding era of computer technology. Now, three decades later she asks why the once-celebrated miracle of digital is turning into a nightmare. Zuboff tackles the social, political, business, personal, and technological meaning of "surveillance capitalism" as an unprecedented new market form. It is not simply about tracking us and selling ads, it is the business model for an ominous new marketplace that aims at nothing less than predicting and modifying our everyday behavior--where we go, what we do, what we say, how we feel, who we're with. The consequences of surveillance capitalism for us as individuals and as a society vividly come to life in The Age of Surveillance Capitalism's pathbreaking analysis of power. The threat has shifted from a totalitarian "big brother" state to a universal global architecture of automatic sensors and smart capabilities: A "big other" that imposes a fundamentally new form of power and unprecedented concentrations of knowledge in private companies--free from democratic oversight and control"--… (mehr)
Mitglied:RivieraBeach
Titel:The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power
Autoren:Shoshana Zuboff (Autor)
Info:PublicAffairs (2019), Edition: 1, 704 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
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The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power von Shoshana Zuboff (2019)

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I struggled a bit with how I was going to rate this book. I do feel like I learned a lot from this book and it gave me a lot of ideas to chew on. I am the target audience for this book. I already agree with Zuboff on many of her ideas about the inherent issues when it comes to tech companies owning our data, even when that data is an essential part of our person. I don't like the idea that Facebook uses my face as data to be used in facial recognition software just because I put a picture of myself on Instagram. However, this was not a book that was "fun" to read. This isn't a devastating criticism. I've read a lot of very academic, hard-to-parse texts (Foucault comes to mind) and I understand that a lot can be gained from a book that is challenging to read. In this case though I felt that Zuboff did not always convey her ideas clearly and it was that and not the level of the ideas that made it hard to read.

This book reads a lot like theory and that's probably because it basically is. This book is very well researched with the last 30% being made up of all the notes and sources and Zuboff should be commended for this effort. This makes this book very dense but also very informative. Even when I disagreed with Zuboff, I was able to look at the notes and look further into her claims.

I do think Zuboff may overreach slightly in some of her claims, especially in the claim that tech companies and surveillance capitalists are trying to completely erase individuality and that they are already on the way to doing so. I actually don't think this is completely off base as those companies can make more profit if they know exactly how we will react and that is much easier to do if everyone acts the same. These companies also often discuss how the want to streamline our lives and this is much easier to do if they can stop us from making "bad choices." I think the problem with Zuboff's argument to this point is that she simply does not provide enough evidence to support her claim that tech companies are well on their way to controlling us to this extent.

I think Zuboff's stronger claim comes with her argument that these companies are eroding our belief in democracy. I think this has become clear with their insistence to stand by the policies of taking a completely hands off approach. Recently, after Jack Dorsey of Twitter made the decision to flag some of Donald Trump tweets for misinformation surrounding mail-in ballots, Mark Zuckerberg went on Fox news and said he did not think Facebook should be the arbiter of truth. Well, unfortunately they already are and it sucks. People will often talk about how people need to get out of their echo-chambers but these companies make that really hard because showing people things they disagree with but won't get angry at is bad for their bottom line. I think Zuboff does a good job showing the history of how and why we got to this point.

I was a little surprised at which social theorists and sociologists were not in this book. Zuboff does discuss Marx, Polanyi, and Goffman, all theorists I have read, and she does discuss Bentham's panopticon, but only cites Foucault once in this 704 page book. I don't understand how you write a book with this title and not address the ideas of the man who first explicitly connected surveillance and capital accumulation. I also think a discussion of how Louis Althusser's ideas of the ideological state apparatus applies to tech companies in their attempts to get us to act in a certain way would have added an interesting layer to her arguments. As a sociology student, I was left somewhat wanting for more sociological reasoning for her arguments and I think including more sociological theory would have strengthened her argument.

I also would have liked to see at least some discussion of the basic flaws in the data these tech companies may be gather to full their algorithm and new technologies. One area I thought about on this topic for a while is predictive policing. Any data put into a predicitive policing algorithm will be biased due to the fact that communities of color have been subject to higher rates of policing for years due to many different racist reasons. Because people of color tend to live in segregated communities due to red-lining and those communities are over-policed, more people of color are arrested. Even if the algorithm somehow doesn't pick up on the race disparities in current police data, it will likely pick up on the geographic differences and therefore, communities of color will continue to be over policed. Zuboff makes the claim that tech companies gathering our data makes them all knowing about our behavior but she does not acknowledge the ways that this data could be biased going in and therefore their conclusions could contain those biases. Even the data provided by the users can be biased because of systematic issues of racism that create differences in access to education and other areas of knowledge. Zuboff makes claims about the "division of learning." I think she should have addressed how not all people are given equal access to this domain to begin with.

This book also led to some ideas for me to think about in my own research and thinking as a sociologist. I really liked reading about Stanley Milgrams' breaching exercises and how it created such strong social anxiety because he was aware of the fact that he was breaking social norms. I think it would be interesting to think about and study how the increase of social norms related entirely to how we interact online and on social media adds to this social anxiety or transforms the sort of action we perceive as breaking social norms offline.

I think this is a great and well researched argument about some of the problems with the way we currently allow private companies to own data we have given them no right to. We are no longer the customer. Targeted advertising does not help me. It is not something that I want, it is something advertisers want and it helps the companies bottom line. I think we should acknowledge this book for what it is; an excellent start to theorizing about this topic. I expect in the future other theorists will flesh out, push back on, build on, and improve the ideas presented in this book, as is the tradition of social theory. ( )
  AKBouterse | Oct 14, 2021 |
For more reviews and bookish posts visit https://www.ManOfLaBook.com

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff analyzes the power wielded by companies who collect raw data about people, attempting to predict behavior. Ms. Zuboff is a published author, and a professor at Harvard Business School.

“Google had discovered a way to translate its nonmarket interactions with users into surplus raw material for the fabrication of products aimed at genuine market transactions with its real customers: advertisers.”

I remember a few years ago, talking to a co-worker who was surely 15-20 years younger, complaining about fees (which I despise to this day). He just looked at me and said “how are they supposed to make money?”. Furthermore, thought of producing a good product for a fair price never occurred to him.
That’s when I knew we lost; fees have been normalized.

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff could very well be the most important book written since the invention of social media, as well as the way Google changed the Internet. A word of warning though, this book is somewhat disturbing when you think about all the information you willingly give away to social media companies.

The author points out that we don’t’ realize what’s happening around us because we have no frame of reference. Above all, this level of surveillance has never been implemented. We think we’re getting something for nothing, but we actually supply tons of behavioral raw materials for advertisers to use. This data is used, as well as manipulated, in ways which we barely understand.
It’s not going to get any better.

This type of surveillance capitalism nudges people to behave the way advertisers want you. Whether its buying products you don’t want, or need, to make you afraid so you’ll vote against your interests, bypassing user awarness. Yes, this issue has affected democracy, not just spending habits.

Professor Zubooff also goes into detail on how the Internet of Things works in conjunction with other services to figure out future behavior. As an IT professional I knew of this aspect of social media (no the extent), but this book really put together all the pieces in the social context of our time. Narrator Nicol Zanarella read this book with careful consideration to the material. ( )
  ZoharLaor | Sep 17, 2021 |
This s a brilliant and essential book. Do not be intimidated by the length. as Zuboff is a fine writer and her insights into the subtleties of our technocratic imprisonment in this all seeing, all knowing dystopia are revelatory. You could read the last 25 pages to obtain a crisp overview, but invest the time to allow Zuboff to take you on the full tour. ( )
  altonmann | Jul 21, 2021 |
There's a cliché that says if a company offers you something for free, you're the product. That's not quite true when it comes to the data driven technology firms reviewed in this book. What we are is the raw material, and the product is behavioral surplus--the corpus of data that the firms derive from our behaviors.

Shoshana Zuboff distinguishes surveillance capitalism from traditional capitalism through the use of behavioral surplus. In a traditional arrangement, money is exchanged for a product or service. While the company is interested in the behavior of its customers, that information is used to improve marketing and sell more product, and is not a product in itself. In surveillance capitalism, we trade our behavior for services, and the firm derives its profit from selling that behavioral surplus. In this arrangement, Apple is still largely traditional. Amazon is also still traditional, though it's expanding into surveillance capitalism through products such as Alexa. Google and Facebook are almost pure surveillance capitalism firms.

Surveillance capitalism operates through information asymmetry. Consumers may not be told about the information gathered, are given opaque terms of use (the average TOU should take 45 minutes to read; the average consumer takes 19 seconds--and if you don't really have a practical choice about using the product, what are you going to do?) and aren't aware of how much information can actually be extracted. For example, it's obvious that your shopping patterns can be used to form a picture of your tastes and spending habits. It's less obvious that your selfies and other pictures can be used to form a portrait of your personality.

The point, moreover, is not merely to analyze your behavior patterns, or even to use that data to make predictions. The ultimate goal is to use this data to shape future behavior, as Facebook did with its voting experiment--and then argued that it should be exempt from the laws and regulations surrounding psychological research. Pokémon Go functioned as both a collector and shaper of players' behavior, and the game was originally developed at Google.

The potentials for surveillance capitalism are worrying--applications already exist and are being developed for behavioral surplus. How will firms in other areas benefit from this, using surveillance techniques to determine creditworthiness, insurance, and health? Although in surveys people express a desire for strong privacy roles, we lack a robust regulatory framework to ensure this. The outcry over election manipulation also makes clear the potential (and reality) for large scale political disruption, which is particularly worrying given the dismissive attitudes of many tech titans towards democracy. Silicon Valley companies actively lobby against a regulatory framework that would protect consumers, instead arguing in favor of "the market" and claiming that behavioral surveillance is ultimately for the benefit of the consumer.

As a book, this is imperfect. Zuboff's language tends towards the hyperbolic, making it too easy to dismiss her as a conspiracy theorist. It's also a little long winded, rather than crisp and clear. None of this is enough to tank the book, but it keeps it from being quite as successful as it could be (were half stars allowed, I would have given this 4.5). That said, the content is worth ploughing through. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
中文:監控資本主義時代(上卷:基礎與演進;下卷:機器控制力量)(套書,上下冊不分售)
  natalieliu | Jun 9, 2021 |
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"Shoshana Zuboff, named "the true prophet of the information age" by the Financial Times, has always been ahead of her time. Her seminal book In the Age of the Smart Machine foresaw the consequences of a then-unfolding era of computer technology. Now, three decades later she asks why the once-celebrated miracle of digital is turning into a nightmare. Zuboff tackles the social, political, business, personal, and technological meaning of "surveillance capitalism" as an unprecedented new market form. It is not simply about tracking us and selling ads, it is the business model for an ominous new marketplace that aims at nothing less than predicting and modifying our everyday behavior--where we go, what we do, what we say, how we feel, who we're with. The consequences of surveillance capitalism for us as individuals and as a society vividly come to life in The Age of Surveillance Capitalism's pathbreaking analysis of power. The threat has shifted from a totalitarian "big brother" state to a universal global architecture of automatic sensors and smart capabilities: A "big other" that imposes a fundamentally new form of power and unprecedented concentrations of knowledge in private companies--free from democratic oversight and control"--

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