Shoshana Zuboff explains why you should care about privacy

In a wide-ranging interview with Lauren Jackson of the New York Times, the author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” talks about why people should pay attention to how big tech companies are using their information.

As we allow these companies to amass this huge scale of human-generated data, we’re changing the nature of our society.

Because, first of all, we’re allowing them to create these huge asymmetries of knowledge about people. Instead of this being a golden age of the democratization of knowledge, it’s turned into something very different from what any of us expected. The last 20 years have seen, especially the last decade, the wholesale destruction of privacy.

And operationally, what happens is they get to a point where they know so much about us that they can fashion targeting mechanisms. We’re not just talking about targeted ads. We’re talking about subliminal cues, psychological microtargeting, real time rewards and punishments, algorithmic recommendation tools and engineered social comparison dynamics.