Guide Building Better Health. A Handbook of Behavioral Change (Scientific and Technical Publication)

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But whereas most democratic societies have at least some degree of oversight of state surveillance, we currently have almost no regulatory oversight of its privatised counterpart.


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This is intolerable. That means that self-regulation is a nonstarter. The Age of Surveillance Capital is a striking and illuminating book. And if we fail to tame the new capitalist mutant rampaging through our societies then we will only have ourselves to blame, for we can no longer plead ignorance. John Naughton: At the moment, the world is obsessed with Facebook. But as you tell it, Google was the prime mover. Shoshana Zuboff: Surveillance capitalism is a human creation.

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It lives in history, not in technological inevitability. It was pioneered and elaborated through trial and error at Google in much the same way that the Ford Motor Company discovered the new economics of mass production or General Motors discovered the logic of managerial capitalism. Surveillance capitalism was invented around as the solution to financial emergency in the teeth of the dotcom bust when the fledgling company faced the loss of investor confidence.

Operationally this meant that Google would both repurpose its growing cache of behavioural data, now put to work as a behavioural data surplus, and develop methods to aggressively seek new sources of this surplus. The company developed new methods of secret surplus capture that could uncover data that users intentionally opted to keep private, as well as to infer extensive personal information that users did not or would not provide.

And this surplus would then be analysed for hidden meanings that could predict click-through behaviour. The surplus data became the basis for new predictions markets called targeted advertising. Here was the origin of surveillance capitalism in an unprecedented and lucrative brew: behavioural surplus, data science, material infrastructure, computational power, algorithmic systems, and automated platforms. As click-through rates skyrocketed, advertising quickly became as important as search. Eventually it became the cornerstone of a new kind of commerce that depended upon online surveillance at scale.

The success of these new mechanisms only became visible when Google went public in JN: So surveillance capitalism started with advertising, but then became more general? SZ: Surveillance capitalism is no more limited to advertising than mass production was limited to the fabrication of the Ford Model T. It quickly became the default model for capital accumulation in Silicon Valley, embraced by nearly every startup and app.

It has spread across a wide range of products, services, and economic sectors, including insurance, retail, healthcare, finance, entertainment, education, transportation, and more, birthing whole new ecosystems of suppliers, producers, customers, market-makers, and market players. I am fascinated by the structure of colonial conquest, especially the first Spaniards who stumbled into the Caribbean islands. Back then Columbus simply declared the islands as the territory of the Spanish monarchy and the pope. The sailors could not have imagined that they were writing the first draft of a pattern that would echo across space and time to a digital 21st century.

The first surveillance capitalists also conquered by declaration. They simply declared our private experience to be theirs for the taking, for translation into data for their private ownership and their proprietary knowledge. They relied on misdirection and rhetorical camouflage, with secret declarations that we could neither understand nor contest.

Google began by unilaterally declaring that the world wide web was its to take for its search engine. Surveillance capitalism originated in a second declaration that claimed our private experience for its revenues that flow from telling and selling our fortunes to other businesses. In both cases, it took without asking. Page [Larry, Google co-founder] foresaw that surplus operations would move beyond the online milieu to the real world, where data on human experience would be free for the taking.

As it turns out his vision perfectly reflected the history of capitalism, marked by taking things that live outside the market sphere and declaring their new life as market commodities. We were caught off guard by surveillance capitalism because there was no way that we could have imagined its action, any more than the early peoples of the Caribbean could have foreseen the rivers of blood that would flow from their hospitality toward the sailors who appeared out of thin air waving the banner of the Spanish monarchs.

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Like the Caribbean people, we faced something truly unprecedented. Once we searched Google, but now Google searches us. Once we thought of digital services as free, but now surveillance capitalists think of us as free. This duality set information technology apart from earlier generations of technology: information technology produces new knowledge territories by virtue of its informating capability, always turning the world into information.

The result is that these new knowledge territories become the subject of political conflict. Now the same dilemmas of knowledge, authority and power have surged over the walls of our offices, shops and factories to flood each one of us… and our societies. Surveillance capitalists were the first movers in this new world.

They declared their right to know, to decide who knows, and to decide who decides. JN: So the big story is not really the technology per se but the fact that it has spawned a new variant of capitalism that is enabled by the technology? We have no formal control over these processes because we are not essential to the new market action.

Instead we are exiles from our own behaviour, denied access to or control over knowledge derived from its dispossession by others for others. We are the native peoples now whose claims to self-determination have vanished from the maps of our own experience. While it is impossible to imagine surveillance capitalism without the digital, it is easy to imagine the digital without surveillance capitalism.

The point cannot be emphasised enough: surveillance capitalism is not technology. Digital technologies can take many forms and have many effects, depending upon the social and economic logics that bring them to life. Surveillance capitalism relies on algorithms and sensors, machine intelligence and platforms, but it is not the same as any of those.

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SZ: Surveillance capitalism moves from a focus on individual users to a focus on populations, like cities, and eventually on society as a whole. Think of the capital that can be attracted to futures markets in which population predictions evolve to approximate certainty. This has been a learning curve for surveillance capitalists, driven by competition over prediction products. First they learned that the more surplus the better the prediction, which led to economies of scale in supply efforts. Then they learned that the more varied the surplus the higher its predictive value.

This new drive toward economies of scope sent them from the desktop to mobile, out into the world: your drive, run, shopping, search for a parking space, your blood and face, and always… location, location, location. The evolution did not stop there. It is no longer enough to automate information flows about us; the goal now is to automate us. These processes are meticulously designed to produce ignorance by circumventing individual awareness and thus eliminate any possibility of self-determination.

It has no foundation in democratic or moral legitimacy, as it usurps decision rights and erodes the processes of individual autonomy that are essential to the function of a democratic society. The message here is simple: Once I was mine. Now I am theirs. SZ: During the past two decades surveillance capitalists have had a pretty free run, with hardly any interference from laws and regulations.

Democracy has slept while surveillance capitalists amassed unprecedented concentrations of knowledge and power. We enter the 21st century marked by this stark inequality in the division of learning: they know more about us than we know about ourselves or than we know about them. As a fiduciary to investors and a leading provider of financial technology, our clients turn to us for the solutions they need when planning for their most important goals.

Twitter: blackrock Blog: www. Many Americans are struggling to manage their cash-flow effectively. This is largely due to high income volatility, and unexpected expense shocks. As the Center for Financial Services Innovation has documented, cash flow management is not an issue affecting just temporary, seasonal, or contract workers. According to the U. While the median household income rose 5. With stagnant income and increasing expenses, our middle-class is suffering. And the world is getting more tempting. Even when consumers try to be fiscally responsible by setting auto-savings, preliminary research by Daniel Fernandes has shown that many people who have auto-savings will still incur credit card debt because they do not adjust their expenses to account for savings.

Families with low credit scores or limited credit histories are forced to seek liquidity from often predatory lenders such as pawn shops, auto title lenders, and payday lenders. The current lending system has become too focused on trying to measure risk rather than on developing strategies to mitigate that risk. Furthermore, the credit system attributes too much of the risk to individual characteristics without also examining how the way in which the system is structured may actually perpetuate or contribute to missed payments or default.

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