Once again, I would like to open my blog by touching upon the current state that the world is in. I hope you are all doing okay and taking proper precautions in these trying times, and I am as bummed out as the next to not be able to have our normally scheduled class meetings. With that said, I’d like to take a moment to commend Dr. Zamora and Alan for working so quickly to build a plan for our NetNarr class so we could continue our journey into the black mirror. Given the likelihood of a possible shut down of our lives as we know it, albeit temporary, having our NetNarr community and collaboration is certainly a welcomed distraction from the horrors of the world today.
The first two chapters of this book were definitely somewhat of an eye opening experience. First, in the first chapter, Zuboff provides a great introduction to this idea of surveillance capitalism. Zuboff describes this phenomenon as a claim as human experience as free material. Just like nearly everything else in our lives, it is something that was created on the backs of greed and the ignorance of the general public. We have touched upon this idea in a few of our prior class meetings, and I view this as a kind of tipping point for our look into this type of work. One comparison I think further drove it home for me was Google to General Motors. Meaning, they were the first to innovate the idea, being ahead of the curve. Of course, just like how other motor companies were born off the back of General Motors, more of these web based business followed the lead of Google and compiled their own capital based on the interactions that their consumers are making online. Earlier in the semester we discussed this idea of how monetization is the common theme when it comes to all of these online spaces, whether it be search engines or e-commerce websites like Amazon. As Zuboff goes on to say, this was all unprecedented. When something is unprecedented, it typically lacks any form of regulation or oversight, or the regulation in place is lacking due to having to devise it from a place of theory and speculation rather than from a place of practical experience and evidence. In many ways, the internet is a space for outlaws like the wild west. We can live online in ways that simply are not viable in the real world. And these online conglomerates saw where they could fit in and take advantage.
Chapter 2 is a fascinating case study all its own. It describes how Apple began to create a new virtual norm while a devastating police shooting took place in London. I find it interesting that she highlights the disparity between the rich and the poor. How one Silicon Valley is creating wealth by violating and stepping over and into the lives and basic privacy of the consumer, and the other side was sent into bedlam over what was viewed as a wrongful act by a police officer. What is more, is that Zuboff aligns the powerful Apple company with the state in this instance. I find this to be quite a significant observation due to the ways that the state could tap into this wealth of knowledge on the general public that a company like Apple has to complete game the system and create an effect of unrest and distrust. I look forward to going over these themes in class tonight. Stay safe, be well, and I look forward to hearing from each of you!