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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; edição 2019)

por Professor Shoshana Zuboff (Auteur)

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7431322,460 (4.02)14
"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"--… (mais)
Membro:Toveriolavi
Título:The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power: Barack Obama's Books of 2019
Autores:Professor Shoshana Zuboff (Auteur)
Informação:Profile Books Ltd (2019), Edition: Main, 704 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
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The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power por Shoshana Zuboff (2019)

Adicionado recentemente portrotta, aniol, avrego, biblioteca privada, bunnyladame, arlcastillo, alexpharmakis, Paul.McKenzie, x_hoxha, fidgetyfern
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An epic read, terrifying, and a relief that it's not just my imagination and that other people are taking it seriously. It will take me months to digest but the most immediate idea I take away is how all sorts of things like insurance of all kinds, travel and medical monitoring will compel us to allow our data to be taken, in the same way that opting in to social media and finding information on the internet already do, on pain of termination of service. It's a very big book although looks even bigger as there are 160 pages of notes and such, in addition to the 525 pages of text. I'm quite comforted that I was forced to keep going and finish it at speed as there were two other library readers waiting for it - I wish them luck. The writing was very academic (I think) and it took me a long time to get started and get comfortable with the prose. And there was a lot I didn't understand.... for example page 505 'Now the hive emulates the "termite state".....' Does anyone know? ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
An excellent loom at the technology, companies, and advocates for surveillance capitalism. Detailled and rich, it should stand as a warning to this and future generations much like Arendt did for hers. Perhaps a bit overly long and occasionally repetitive, it is nonetheless an important work. ( )
  ichadwick | Dec 7, 2020 |
The first half of this was more interesting for me to read, but I enjoyed it as a whole. This book dives deep into things that should be more front of mind for every tech user. ( )
  Hilaurious | Jun 2, 2020 |
The title “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” evokes a weighty subject, and the book’s subtitle purports to something menacing to the future of humankind. It is to be seen if its contents are as substantial as the book’s 700-page length would suggest.

The author, Shoshana Zuboff, is a professor emerita at Harvard Business School, not unimpressive an honor by any measure.

A summary of assertions made in the book is as follows:

1. Big technological colossuses (Big Techs), epitomized by Google and Facebook, operate their business models by extracting data trails of online users, and in turn selling the extrapolated results (what Zuboff calls behavioral surplus) to their advertising customers.

2. Sophisticated algorithms are deployed and constantly refined to increase the predictive value of profiling data. At the same time, online users are passively served with moderated searches, federated news feeds, suggested connections, etc., all under the coercive power of the Big Techs. Such duress is as severe as not only to affect, shape, and compel, but with the aim to modify and manipulate user behaviors.

3. With the proliferation of sensors and Internet connectivity, Big Techs extend their reach far beyond the virtual realm to the real world. Regarding the surveillance operated by these techno-capitalists, in the author’s telling, its presence so pervasive and its impact so complete that any human free agency has receded entirely to the background and is ineffective.

4. While the above are not new to anyone who has casual understanding of current economics and culture, what Zuboff strives to accentuate is their connection to high-order issues such as self, liberty, democratic values, and human nature. She compares the dangers posed by “surveillance capitalism” to that of fascism, totalitarianism, behaviorist utopianism, and the like, that once presented real or potential detriments to humanity.

For its thrilling effects, the agenda for the book is sweeping, even ambitious. Technological advancement, especially one that combines deep analytics, machine intelligence, and makes its ubiquitous presence in our intimate lives deserves a dispassionate evaluation as to its social impacts. Zuboff should be applauded for selecting this timely topic for her book.

Yet one cannot help but feel frustrated by the lack of thematic organization of the whole book. Instead of explicating the economics involved in this different “capitalism”, Zuboff is more concerned with weaving her own narrative of abstruse euphemisms about how grave a danger the human future is facing. Materials are regurgitated, often word for word from the earlier part of the book and throughout. As to what actions Zuboff suggests to “fight for a human future…”? The author offers an ill-defined “synthetic declaration” (p. 345), and a skimpy, equally obscure advice of “friction, courage, and bearings” (p. 524). Specifics are sorely lacking in allusions to democratic institutions, public opinion, legislative and judicial recourse (p. 520). A whimper of a solution indeed to a loud bang of such a doorstopper.

Zuboff obviously sets out to intend the book as a treatise that plumbs the depth of these to her as “unprecedented” developments in “surveillance capitalism”, and attempts to compare philosophically with past phenomena its manifold menaces to humanity. But it is exactly in such philosophizing that is the weakest of the book, for her arguments are at best tenuous and strained. On the other hand, the author wily limits her subject to mostly the socio-economic domain of the Western world, as is indicated in the book’s title. The picture would have been more complete if it had combined with surveillance authoritarianism. The “social credit” system practised unimpeded in China makes only passing reference in mere 6 pages (pgs. 388-394). Certainly, the threat to human liberty and dignity is far graver when the surveillance apparatus and capability are controlled by a police state, whereas in Western democracies competition among capitalists still exists.

What is most infuriating is Zuboff’s penchant for fabricating catchphrases. Smug expressions such as “dispossession”, “behavioral futures”, “cultural misappropriation”, “economy of action”, “division of learning”, “shadow text”, “uncontract”, “hive”, “coup from above”, “Big Other”, “instrumentarian power”, “right to the future tense”, “third modernity*” …., litter throughout the book. The meanings of many of these are poorly articulated. Although she attempts to provide a brief rationale to her epithetic acrobatic (p. 66), such twisting of language is unnecessary and far from successful. It is an act of throwing spaghetti upon the wall; hoping that somehow one such phrase may stick with posterity with reference made to the author. As stated, the impression appears that the writer is more interested in weaving an esoteric narrative than presenting facts.

Read a typical sentence on p. 488 of the book:
“No exit” is the necessary condition for Big Other to flourish, and its flourishing is the necessary condition for all that is meant to follow: the tides of behavioral surplus and their transformation into revenue, the certainty that will meet every market player with guaranteed outcomes, the bypass of trust in favor of the uncontract’s radical indifference, the paradise of effortless connection that exploits the needs of harried second-modernity individuals and transforms their lives into the means to others’ ends, the plundering of the self, the extinction of autonomous moral judgment for the sake of frictionless control, the actuation and modification that quietly drains the will to will, the forfeit of your voice in the first person in favor of others’ plans, the destruction of the social relations and politics of the old and slow and still-unfulfilled ideals of self-determining citizens bound to the legitimate authority of democratic governance.”

Long sentences can be beautiful in abler literary hands, but the above is downright egregious in form and meaning.

Zuboff’s writing style can be aptly depicted as beating around the bush, with hyperboles and a plethora of inapt metaphors that ill befits so serious a subject she wants to convey. At times, she relishes so much staying with her metaphoric vehicles that the intended tenors are nowhere to be found. Long, winding sentences with chained substantives also further hamper readability.

So, are readers more empowered at the end “with a more cogent and comprehensive understanding” (p. 18) of the menacing incursion exerted by the Big Techs? For the newly initiated, the writing style has done more to obfuscate than to illuminate. For the more inclined and those who look for some concrete societal antidotes, Zuboff has woefully under-delivered.

More clear-eyed analyses are still awaited on the technologies proffered by the Big Techs, on the associated data-driven economy, and their consequent impacts to individuals and society at-large.

* cf. Alan de Vulpian, 2003 (English , 2008) ( )
1 vote Laurence.Lai | Apr 20, 2020 |
Long-winded and full of jargon. Might make a good essay, but I think the author doesn't understand her point well enough to be more succinct.
( )
1 vote richardSprague | Mar 22, 2020 |
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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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