'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism

'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism

Publication Title
The Guardian
Publication/Creation Date
January 20 2019
John Naughton (creator)
Shoshana Zuboff (contributor)
Facebook (contributor)
Google Inc. (contributor)
Persuasive Intent
John Naughton explains the importance of Shoshana Zuboff's new book, "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism", in which she writes:

“Surveillance capitalism unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioural data. Although some of these data are applied to service improvement, the rest are declared as a proprietary behavioural surplus, fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence’, and fabricated into prediction products that anticipate what you will do now, soon, and later. Finally, these prediction products are traded in a new kind of marketplace that I call behavioural futures markets. Surveillance capitalists have grown immensely wealthy from these trading operations, for many companies are willing to lay bets on our future behaviour.”

Naughton interviews Zuboff who further explores the detrimental societal, political, and ethical consequences of surveillance capitalism, especially the influence of companies like Google and Facebook. She says:

"it is no longer enough to automate information flows about us; the goal now is to automate us. These processes are meticulously designed to produce ignorance by circumventing individual awareness and thus eliminate any possibility of self-determination...This power to shape behaviour for others’ profit or power is entirely self-authorising. It has no foundation in democratic or moral legitimacy, as it usurps decision rights and erodes the processes of individual autonomy that are essential to the function of a democratic society".
HCI Platform
Location on Body
Not On The Body

Date archived
January 22 2019
Last edited
November 6 2019
How to cite this entry
John Naughton. (January 20 2019). "'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism". The Guardian. The Guardian. Fabric of Digital Life. https://fabricofdigitallife.com/index.php/Detail/objects/3505