The challenges to humanity posed by the digital future, the first detailed examination of the unprecedented form of power called "surveillance capitalism", and the quest by powerful corporations to predict and control our behavior.
In this masterwork of original thinking and research, Shoshana Zuboff provides startling insights into the phenomenon that she has named surveillance capitalism. The stakes could not be higher: a global architecture of behavior modification threatens human nature in the 21st century just as industrial capitalism disfigured the natural world in the 20th. Zuboff vividly brings to life the consequences as surveillance capitalism advances from Silicon Valley into every economic sector. Vast wealth and power are accumulated in ominous new "behavioral futures markets", where predictions about our behavior are bought and sold, and the production of goods and services is subordinated to a new "means of behavioral modification". The threat has shifted from a totalitarian Big Brother state to a ubiquitous digital architecture: a "Big Other" operating in the interests of surveillance capital. Here is the crucible of an unprecedented form of power marked by extreme concentrations of knowledge and free from democratic oversight. Zuboff's comprehensive and moving analysis lays bare the threats to 21st-century society: a controlled "hive" of total connection that seduces with promises of total certainty for maximum profit - at the expense of democracy, freedom, and our human future. With little resistance from law or society, surveillance capitalism is on the verge of dominating the social order and shaping the digital future - if we let it.
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"I will make a guarantee: Assuming we survive to tell the tale, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism has a high probability of joining the likes Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and Max Weber's Economy and Society as defining social-economics texts of modern times. It is not a 'quick read'; it is to be savored and re-read and discussed with colleagues and friends. No zippy one-liners from me, except to almost literally beg you to read/ingest this book." (Tom Peters, coauthor of In Search of Excellence)
"My mind is blown on every page by the depth of Shoshana's research, the breadth of her knowledge, the rigor of her intellect, and finally by the power of her arguments. I'm not sure we can end the age of surveillance capitalism without her help, and that's why I believe this is the most important book of our time." (Doc Searls, author of The Intention Economy, editor in chief, Linux Journal)
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- barbara reiterer
This is a poignant analysis of the world we live. We need to pass the word on. We need most reasonable adults to read and absorb what Zuboff has written, then we need to advocate for change.