As this summer of pandemic and racial justice protests draws to a close, Naomi Klein hosted a landmark conversation between Shoshana Zuboff, author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” and Simone Browne, author of “Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness.” The three authors discussed how both governments and tech giants are using our moment of overlapping crises to push through discredited surveillance technologies that threaten privacy, democracy, and any hope of equality.
Instead of labor, surveillance capitalism feeds on every aspect of human experience,” writes Dr. Zuboff, the Charles Edward Wilson Professor Emerita at Harvard Business School as well as Faculty Associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.
Shoshana Zuboff, a professor emerita at Harvard Business School, mentions the citizens of Broughton more than once in her book “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power”—a reckoning with the stranglehold that Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other Big Tech companies exert over our lives and minds.
I wanted to get your comment on this latest news headline: “A New York regulator is ramping up a promised investigation of how Facebook gathered sensitive personal information from popular smartphone applications, after a report by The Wall Street Journal revealed many such apps were sending the social-media giant data including users’ body weight and menstrual cycles.” SHOSHANA ZUBOFF: All right, well, so we’re living in a time right now where every week there are a series of mini-scandals.
Livestream begins Friday, March 1 at 7 p.m. ET Join Intercept senior correspondent Naomi Klein and Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff, author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power,” for an engaging discussion about the unprecedented form of power called “surveillance capitalism” and the quest by corporations to predict and control our behavior.
Zuboff, who published her first book in 1989 on the future of technology and data in the workplace, warns in Surveillance Capitalism of a “seventh extinction” that threatens to eradicate “what has been held most precious in human nature.” Given the fragility of the global political and economic order, surveillance capitalism amounts to a “coup from above,” Zuboff argues, an assault on democracy by way of subverting the very idea of what it means to be an individual.
First, if, as commonly argued, social media platforms are our contemporary town squares, they are being operated as for-profit enterprises dependent on the accumulation and monetization of personal data, a practice that Harvard Business School Professor Shoshana Zuboff calls surveillance capitalism .
It all started with targeted advertising, and with the new economic arrangement that Harvard Business School scholar Shoshana Zuboff calls "surveillance capitalism." Just like 20th century firms like General Motors and Ford invented mass production and managerial capitalism, Google and Facebook figured out how to commodify "reality" itself by tracking what people (and not just their users) do online (and increasingly offline too), making predictions about what they might do in the future, devising ways to influence behavior from shopping to voting, and selling that power to whoever is willing to pay.