Stolen Future

And just one more thought about surveillance capitalism, and then we are off to church.

The problem isn’t even that we are spied on, and there is no more privacy and no consent. We have all accepted that already.

The problem is that after spying comes behavioral modification. As Zuboff says, we are being despoiled of our future. Our future is being stolen from us. Because if we don’t decide what we do, if our behaviors are not a result of the free will, we don’t have what can be meaningfully called future.

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2 thoughts on “Stolen Future”

  1. Hasn’t society always sort of been this way? Judge a person, stereotype them, then treat them according to whatever way the system and communities have pegged said person.
    Hasn’t this always been, more or less, the norm.
    All high tech seems to be doing is exacerbating what societies have always been notorious for (right from the start).

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    1. This is, theoretically at least, different from slapping a preconceived notion on a person and then going to town on them.

      The argument here is that with human activity being increasingly better monitored, the behavioural data can be used to construct models of people or groups that would allow the alteration of their behaviour in increasingly more subtle, less conspicuous ways.

      As a student of social science – which is a field that’s presumably about predicting the behaviour of humans in groups, but is primarily concerned about debating its own possibility – I’m pretty sure that the above is a bit of a pipe dream. There’s companies paying for the data, so it presumably confers some sort of competitive advantage? But then courts hired astrologers, too.

      The other alternative is that, with all of this private data and soft control over social norms, you can engage in what amounts to large scale blackmail. But that’s a lot more overt kind of power, and so something that’s a lot more likely to get whoever uses it punched.

      Humanity’s a wriggly beast and this is not its first numbering. Pretty sure it’ll survive this one, too.

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