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    • I just finished reading Zuboff's book. It's not an easy read--the writing is good but I found it conceptually difficult at times, as it draws on ideas from history, political economy, philosophy and social psychology to analyze a phenomenon that it barely emerging. Put briefly, capitalism is entering a new phase, one in which human behavior is continuously monitored, influenced and ultimately controlled by enterprises that are accountable to nobody. If surveillance capitalism is carried to its logical conclusion, democracy, freedom and human dignity are all at risk.

      I'm not sure this book will appeal to everyone--if you didn't like (or couldn't get through) Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, you probably won't like this one--at 700 pages, they are both of equal heft. But, IMO, they both deserve to be called important books, warnings that we ignore at our own peril.

    • Thank you very much for sharing, and so eloquently summarizing the book in your view. It seems pretty sadly quite veridic, if one has eyes to see what is going on today everywhere in the world, how ignorance has a way of darkening the minds. The fight is uphill against a nanny, overbearing, entirely consumerist society, and there seems isn't much one can do but "go with the flow"

      Or this, perhaps?

    • Here's a long but excellent talk/discussion with Shoshana Zuboff and Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, This Changes Everything, and other works about capitalism, globalization and the environment.

      Has anyone else here read Zuboff's book yet? I was blown away by it, but I would be curious to hear from anyone who disagrees with her conclusions.

    • I haven't read the book yet but I really did enjoy this talk. I appreciated how Shoshana was not willing to throw capitalism out with the bathwater. The talk also brought up something I seemed to repress in my memory which was the fact that the Street View team was scraping Wifi data from nearby houses as they were mapping streets. Evidenced of her point in the arc of how we can forget such infractions as these technologies become commonplace. How we evolved in such a short span of time to so freely giveaway our data is mind boggling to me. But just like Pavlovs dog where there is reward there is repeated behavior. So I guess it is not so suprising.

    • How we evolved in such a short span of time to so freely giveaway our data is mind boggling to me.

      She describes it as a four stage process. It starts with incursion, in which a company simply seizes something (our data) and claims ownership of it, be it our email contents, search history or blood pressure. Google has relentlessly led the charge and perfected the strategy. There is resistance, usually in the form of lawsuits. Many lawsuits. These drag on for years, which leads to the second stage of the process, habituation. "People habituate to the incursion with some combination of agreement, helplessness, and resignation." Once in a while, governments will impose rulings or regulations that eventually force the company to make changes. This is the adaptation phase, and it may also be triggered by public pressure. The final stage is redirection, in which the company proudly points to the changes it has been forced to make as evidence that it is no longer behaving badly. Meanwhile, it is busily seeking new methods of appropriating and exploiting personal data, which are the raw material surveillance capitalism depends upon to survive. She documents in detail how Google followed this sequence in the development and implementation of Google Maps and Street View, but Facebook has used precisely the same approach.