Book Review – The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power

  • Ella Hafermalz KIN Research Group, School of Business and Economics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Keywords: Surveillance Capitalism, Zuboff, Book review, Instrumentarianism, Digital technology

Abstract

Surveillance capitalists like Google and Amazon will do whatever they can to corner supply routes to data about us and our actions. In Zuboff’s lengthy book The age of surveillance capitalism, we learn about the strategic and often underhand means by which these data are captured, and the ‘instrumentarian’ ideology that provides the logic for this enterprise. Zuboff shows that the aim of advertisers and ‘people analytics’ advocates is to use our personal data to determine our behavior. At stake is free will and our ‘right to the future tense’. In this book review, I reflect on Zuboff ’s analysis of how Big Tech, as Big Other, is controlling our lives. I first highlight the prescience of the book’s arguments. I then compare aspects of the book with earlier tomes that were critical of new technology, to argue that taking a deterministic view of peoples’ relationship with technology may inadvertently support the hyped narrative that data analytics and algorithms are all-powerful.

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Published
2021-12-15
How to Cite
Hafermalz, E. (2021). Book Review – The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. M@n@gement, 24(4), 70–75. https://doi.org/10.37725/mgmt.v24.5519
Section
Unplugged