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Magda Skrzypek
Media development worker

Prague-based media development worker from Poland with a journalistic background. Previously worked on digital issues in Brussels. Piqs about digital issues, digital rights, data protection, new trends in journalism and anything else that grabs my attention.

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piqer: Magda Skrzypek
Friday, 19 April 2019

The Rise Of Surveillance Capitalism

Talking Politics is the podcast that "tries to make sense of it all", and in a recent episode it tries to make sense of "surveillance capitalism." David Runciman, the host of the show and professor of politics at Cambridge University, engages Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff in a focused academic debate about the evolution of capitalism and the quest of tech corporations to predict and control every aspect of what we do.

Ever since Zuboff coined the term "surveillance capitalism" in a seminal article a couple of years ago it has become a touchstone for the debate over data privacy and tech accountability. Her newly published book "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power" has been making waves all over too. In it, Zuboff argues that Big Tech companies moved away from serving customers needs, and instead are determined to establish a surveillance marketplace, with data becoming the most valuable commodity in the world.

"None of these companies care what you do. They don't care how you do it. They don't care if you're happy or if you're sad, if you're rich or if you're poor. They only care that you behave in a way that is adjacent to a supply chain interface that can be captured, translated into data, and tossed into supply chains on their way to machine learning," says Zuboff.

Runciman and Zuboff dissect her new and thought-provoking book down to its skeleton, pulling out the verses here and there. They discuss longer-term causes and effects of "surveillance capitalism" and what can be done about it. Most interestingly, though, they debate whether the real problem is technology or capitalism itself.

The Rise Of Surveillance Capitalism
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