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Tweeting Shoshana Zuboff lecture at @UCBerkeley Privacy Must Fall: The World According to #SurveillanceCapitalism
Title homage to Wm Morris, a Romantic. Had a yearning nostalgia in face of Industrialism, but focused on beauty in textiles and buildings. Sought self-regulation, made moralistic appeals
But then read Marx's Capital. Was riveted, and became a disciplined thinker. Destruction of beauty not an unfortunate byproduct but a necessary consequence of industrial logic. New situation: "a river of fire", alive and devouring. The river of fire not industrialism
but logic of capital that took control of the machines, making us slaves of the machines. Became a political activist. Beauty must fall due to this new logic. Human agency could deny inevitability.
The new river of fire is the new mutation of surveillance capitalism that will make privacy (rather than beauty) fall. So what is surveillance capitalism and its imperatives. Claims private human experience as a free source of behavioral data, shunted in supply chains.
The new means of production work on data flows of private data experience. New product emerges: prediction products which are thus fabricated and sold. Traded in a new market, behavioral futures markets. Businesses with a keen interest in what we will do.
Some of the data used for product improvement. But there is data surplus not needed for product improvement, but metadata that are highly predictive. Can use use of punctuation as signals
New methods of surplus capture, capture data intended to be kept private. It's all like a one way mirror. It's a form of surveillance. This is the essential social relation tied up with information extraction. Bypass user's knowledge and inclinations to get data
Economic imperatives on surveillance capitalists. Aimed at prediction of behavior. Want total information, want scale and volume so automating data collection. But need varied data, economies of scope, to make better predictions.
Android as a loss leader so it could be more freely used to mine data. Also need economies of action, to nudge, to shunt humans towards preferred commercial outcomes. Go from monitoring behavior to actuating behavior.
Can engineer context to force behavior. We write music that makes people dance. Reference to BF Skinner to name this kind of behavior modification. This science is moving fast. Ex: google uses intimate data to predict behavior, target individuals. Google can monitor brand loyalty
so business gets advanced warning of consumer exit. Google is making 6 million such predictions per second. What kind of power is this to modify other's behavior? Instrumentarian power, instrumentalization of behavior for prediction and control.
First book on workplace, division of labor to division of learning. Wrote about new capabilities workers needed to work with new information. New information territories are being produced. Who knows? Who decides who knows?
New division of learning. 1986 1% of information digital, 2007 97% digital. But now computation outstrips comprehension. Only AI can sift through large volumes of information, can create value out of it via computation.
But this requires capital; hence surveillance capitalism reading a shadow text of our routine lives. Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook alone have capital to do computation with data; expertise concentrated in only a few companies can turn data into prediction products for
commercial ends. So surveillance capitalism is antagonistic to society. The conflict here is severe, even violent (?). Durkheim on division of labor key thinker. In social transformation, specialization organized not only industrial work but society as a whole.
A new kind of solidarity would have to be created. But can get pathological or abnormal division of labor. Destructive effects of inequality. Extreme asymmetries of power that made conflict and combat impossible.
With new division of learning from economic to social domain, we get new power of those who can learn. Raises a question of epistemic justice. Who has knowledge and authority? Division of learning becoming pathological due to asymmetries of power
New instrumentarian power to actuate behavior at scale, modifying us and directing us to commercial ends. Power so overwhelming we have been deprived of the right of combat. What had been a promise of more knowledge for more people has become pathological.
We're more like a pre-Guttenberg people with priests in the form of owners of AI creating prediction products that direct and dominate us. We're raw material supplies of information gathered in unauthorized ways.
Respondent: Maria Brincker. @MariaBrincker How does asymmetry of knowledge link to autonomy? They know all about us, us nothing about them. Ex of cyber roaches remote controlled to move on a map. Roaches carry out will of controller. Observed predictability, modification
How does it feel to be this bug? May still have experience of navigation. People may not feel manipulated even when know being manipulated. People can be trapped in local optimizing ignorant of global optimum. But still have experience of optimizing. People may choose against
even going through valley to get to global optimum. (Think this is Sewall Wright's adaptive landscapes). May like manipulation. Every action give you a map that conditions future choices. So if your action is manipulated, then so is your future. Manipulation carries forward.
This is the dialectic. Now to Netflix which personalizes poster for a movie. Never know what you are seeing has been personalized or is just a good window on the world as such. What happens with different views, no shared world out of which our sense of objectivity formed
With shared worlds, we have expanded possibility schemes There are cases where we do feel manipulated. Data from past does not have to manipulate you. Eg. past data of missing car payments turns off car, so action prevented
Once we feel our mouse could be moved by unknown forces, how do I navigate the world? I fear it could be weaponized. In the context of action there are new conflicts of interest. Our contexts become confusing.
Next respondent @BrettFrischmann author of Reengineering Humanity. Is this a sudden phase transition with targeted advertising? Historically this goes far back, e.g. scientific management of workers often by controlling environment, gathering data, manipulating. That logic
easily cropt to childrearing and other areas What tools available to micromanagers Amed up taylorism from schools to fast food. Other logics than surveillance capitalism have driven us here. Net neutrality is about control
this is about surveillance and profit. Joseph Weizenbaum warned about reducing power to computational problems that can be solved just with the manipulation of data.
Humanity's techno-social dilemma: we make incremental, cost-beneficial micro advantages. We want to connect, communicate, interact instanteously, we outsource our thinking to apps. All this however sets up to be engineered
We can blame companies, but so do all of us bear responsibility for creating surveillance capitalism. There are other players here than the big companies: small ones, PTA's, ourselves ss responsibility-bearing individuals. We take the benefits of surveillance capitalism, but
don't consider the trade-offs. We use internet search, exercise tracking, romantic sites. Process not always driven by surveillance capitalists. We outsource our thinking to apps that we think are personalized,
Yes personalization is a sham. Best to get sense of techno-social dilemmas from the book. Frishmann going too fast at this point for me to type.
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