How Google and Facebook Spawned Surveillance Capitalism — NYT


For the last few years, the forum has been heralding the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” That’s the idea that today’s digital innovations are generating entire new industries — in much the way electricity enabled the mass production of the Model T Ford in the early 20th century.

But a provocative new book, “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” by Shoshana Zuboff, a professor emerita at the Harvard Business School, offers a more sobering counternarrative.

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Published on Tuesday, the book argues that digital services developed by the likes of Google and Facebook should not be viewed as the latest iteration of industrialization. Instead, Dr. Zuboff writes, they represent a new and problematic market form that trades in predicting and influencing human behavior.

“Surveillance capitalism has taken human experience, specifically private human experience, and unilaterally claimed it as something to be bought and sold in the marketplace,” Dr. Zuboff told me during a visit to The Times’s office. “This new kind of marketplace trades in behavioral futures. It’s like a form of derivative. But it’s about us.”

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Buy the book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff

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