Reading The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: our plan

Our online book club is starting to read Age Of Surveillance_coverShoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.

Here’s the plan.

Every Monday I will blog about that week’s reading.  These posts will include a summary, some observations, and some questions.  I’ll work in some of your responses since the last post.

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How can you respond?  You, dear reader, can respond through whichever technological means makes the most sense to you.

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  You can comment on each blog post.  You can also write on Twitter, LinkedIn, your own blog, or elsewhere on the web.  (If that sounds strange, here are some examples of previous readings, complete with reader responses.)

Here’s the schedule.  I chose enough pages to allow folks enough time to read them in their busy lives, while also having enough material to dig into.

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  It’s usually two chapters per week, or around 60-70 pages.

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April 8 –  chapter 1: Home or Exile in the digital Future; chapter 2: August 9, 2011: Setting the Stage for Surveillance Capitalism

April 15 – 3: The Discovery of Behavioral Surplus; 4: The Moat Around the Castle

April 22 – 5: The Elaboration of Surveillance Capitalism: Kidnap, Corner, Compete; 6: Hijacked: The Division of Learning in Society

April 29 – 7: The Reality Business; 8:  Rendition: From Experience to Data

May 6 – 9: Rendition from the Depths; 10: Make Them Dance

May 13 – 11: The Right to the Future Tense; 12: Two Species of Power

May 20 – 13: Big Other and the Rise of Instrumentarian Power; 14: A Utopia of Certainty

May 27 – 15: The Instrumentation Collective; 16: Of Life in the Hive

June 3 – 17: The Right to Sanctuary; 18: A Coup from Above

June 10 – conclusions and extra notes.

If you want to catch up later, perhaps because you’re reading this in the future, after June 10, 2019, please do. Help yourself to our reading, with all content assembled under this header: .

Any questions or suggestions?  Please fire away.  And happy reading!


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6 Responses to Reading The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: our plan

  1. Human Beings in the Context of Intelligent Computers, Networks, and Organizations

    Shoshana Zuboff”s latest book – Age of Surveillance Capitalism – paints a grim future.

    “We are at a critical juncture in the confrontation between the vast power of giant high-tech companies and government, the hidden economic logic of surveillance capitalism, and the propaganda of machine supremacy that threaten to shape and control human life.”

    Does her vision of the future have anything to do with long-term evolutionary history repeating itself?

    Normally, we do not think of organizations of human beings as being sentient beings. The organization consists of roles that are occupied by humans. Humans are sentient beings, but the organizations they belong to are not.

    But, as artificial intelligence advances, perhaps organizations are in the process of becoming sentient beings.

    Given Zuboff’s bleak outlook, perhaps humans are being subsumed by the intelligent computers, networks, and organizations they have created. The Internet Of Things is waking up.

    If human consciousness can be uploaded to an exocortex in the cloud, that means the human mind becomes immortal, while human body becomes expendable.

    But, there may well be many other exocortexes in the cloud. So, together they may be seen as a cybernetic hive mind consisting of multiple human minds, each playing a role in a organization of minds.

    Has a similar drama played out before? Can we see a analog in the history of life on this planet; more specifically, when single cell organisms merged to become multi-cell organisms?

    • Bryan Alexander says:

      What a fascinating line of thought, Fred.

      Are these technology giants hive organisms, like ant colonies, or just relatively mild organizations, like fish arranged into schools?

  2. The book’s in the mail. I wasn’t sure about ILL through local rural library getting here in time and would rather test it with a book I’m not on deadline to get. OTOH I’ve been doing my usual thing of looking for reviews, articles, videos, etc.

    Here’s a WBGH video, Shoshana Zuboff: Surveillance Capitalism and Our Democracy,

  3. Pingback: Reading The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: our plan – Skate Curated Best of the Web

  4. Alan Baily says:

    These technologies have been created by human beings with very singular economic goals in mind. These companies work in an atmoshpere of no government oversight or regulation. Their ultimate purpose is to control as much of the population as possible to their economic ends. This can very easily be moved over to the political realm. I see nothing natural or evolutionary about any of this. This is all calculated and deliberate.

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