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Shoshana Zuboff: Google and Facebook have become antithetical to democracy and should be regulated

In February 2019 Shoshana Zuboff – emeritus Harvard Business School professor and the author of the book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism – was guest on Kara Swisher’s podcast Recode Decode.

You cannot have a well-functioning democracy with massive inequalities of knowledge and power, she said, pointing at the huge asymmetry of knowledge that surveillance capitalists sit on – a concentration of knowledge unlike anything ever seen in human history.

Answering briefly to one of the last questions of Swisher, Zuboff – an exceptional orator – emphasized on the importance of rapid change in public opinion, in public awareness.

What about regulation?

They have been allowed to develop in this direction for the last 20 years as democracy has slept. They have been unimpeded by law, unimpeded by regulation. We have an institutional disfiguring of these huge asymmetries of knowledge and power which are antithetical to democracy. That has to change. We need new law, we need new regulatory regimes that interrupt and outlaw the key mechanisms of surveillance capitalism, including the very principles of taking human experience unilaterally and translating it into data

Listen to the episode here.

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