Synopses & Reviews
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 twenty-first century just as industrial capitalism disfigured the natural world in the twentieth.
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 twenty-first 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.
"It's hard to recall a book that left me as haunted as Zuboff's, with its descriptions of the gothic algorithmic daemons that follow us at nearly every instant of every hour of every day to suck us dry of metadata.” Sam Biddle, The Intercept
"Many adjectives could be used to describe Shoshana Zuboff's latest book: groundbreaking, magisterial, alarming, alarmist, preposterous. One will do: unmissable.” John Thornhill, Financial Times
"From the very first page I was consumed with an overwhelming imperative: everyone needs to read this book as an act of digital self-defense.” Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and No Logo, and Gloria Steinem Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University
"Shoshana Zuboff has aimed an unsparing light onto the shadowy new landscape of our lives. The picture is not pretty." Nicholas Carr, Los Angeles Review of Books
"If a book's importance is gauged by how effectively it describes the world we're in, and how much potential it has to change said world, then in my view it's easily the most important book to be published this century...” Zadie Smith
About the Author
Shoshana Zuboff is the Charles Edward Wilson Professor emerita, Harvard Business School. She is the author of In The Age of the Smart Machine: the Future of Work and Power and The Support Economy: Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and her BA from the University of Chicago. For more information see: ShoshanaZuboff.com.