Surveillance Capitalism, 4

I searched for my favorite turquoise eyeliner by Stila on Amazon and didn’t find it. But since then I can’t go on FB without seeing huge ads for Stila cluttering my feed.

Everybody just shrugged their shoulders and yawned because it’s such a boring, mundane story. Shoshana Zuboff says in Surveillance Capitalism that we don’t care about this sort of thing because we have grown completely numb to it. As a result of this numbness, there is no violation of privacy we wouldn’t shrug off.

Also, she says, what’s happening with the birth of surveillance capitalism is so unprecedented that we are failing to process it using familiar ways of thinking. It’s very hard for human beings to accept the existence of something completely new. Our brains automatically look for soothing patterns from the past. “This is just like something I already heard about” is the curse of humanity. It’s a mechanism humans use to protect their brain from the trauma of accepting new evidence. And then we simply shut down our brains and get numb to the radical newness of what’s happening.

Zuboff says that we urgently need to start thinking about the new phase of capitalism in new ways. We have to make our brains catch up with the change. If we don’t, we won’t have much left by way of brains. We already have a generation that is physically incapable of reading a book start to finish. This shit is eating our humanity while we just sit there numbly and repeat that “it’s just like XYZ and so no big deal.”

5 thoughts on “Surveillance Capitalism, 4”

  1. I haven’t started reading this book yet, so cannot comment, but wanted to share that I really enjoy those posts. 🙂

    And academic book reviews in general, especially since they are not only reviews but also your analysis.


  2. This reminds me that a few times while reading your blog there was a menacing picture of Putin staring at me from the ad corner, advertising some book about him. I’m not sure if it was following me due to the content of your blog or because I had previously looked at books by Masha Gessen on Amazon (one of her books is about Putin). Now I’m seeing an ad for clothes.


    1. Creepy.

      The ads I get on my own blog are always about weight loss, clogged pipes or shoes. I never got Putin but I visit the blog so rarely. I use an app.


  3. The ads I see here are some group hiring “PHP developers” (which I have no idea what that is, so I don’t think I’ll be sending in my resume just yet) and an offer to “monetize” my wordpress blog which also….. no, just no.

    I don’t know if the fact that I virtually never click on ads has an effect or not… I buy a few things on line but… not that many. I think the advertising surveillance isn’t sure what to do with me (which suits me so far).


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