Shoshana Zuboff’s published paper in 2015, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, defines this type of capitalism as the use of human experience to produce raw materials – or income to major and minor business players in the economy.
This type of capitalism strongly depended on the information traffic through distinguishing behavioral practices that could be used to market and advertise products targeted to a specific group of individuals who is likely to participate in this market. It is no longer enough to trace activities in the online world, and even in the physical reality.
Companies are now using Google and Facebook to track human behavior to create a more strategic marketing scheme to ensure the profitability of their products and increase sales through shady influences and ad targets.
Zuboff sees this phenomenon in cyberspace as a terrible overturn of the traditional capitalist order. Her analysis could benefit from added emphasis on the deregulation’s role and the organized labor’s declining power. However, it is a thankful note that the paper is not a doomsayer on technological advancement.
Rather, this is a call on the greater analysis of the use of the Internet to market individuals to companies rather than doing the traditional business of offering products to random individuals. This is a ground for critical analysis on the cyber economy and the crisis involved in this digital age.
One thing was pointed as obviously correct though – Facebook (and other social network and information platforms like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and others) is the problem.
However, this will be a long, hard road for everyone to realize the situation before it’s too late, when the digital age hit us hard by becoming the product instead of being the consumers – a warning foretold for long by few but ignored by many.