Industrial capitalism depended upon the exploitation and control of nature, with catastrophic consequences that we only now recognize. Surveillance capitalism, I have suggested, depends instead upon the exploitation and control of human nature. The market reduces us to our behavior, transformed into another fictional commodity and packaged for others’ consumption. In the social principles of instrumentarian society, already brought to life in the experiences of our young, we can see more clearly how this novel capitalism aims to reshape our natures for the sake of its success. We are to be monitored and telestimulated like MacKay’s herds and flocks, Pentland’s beavers and bees, and Nadella’s machines. We are to live in the hive: a life that is naturally challenging and often painful, as any adolescent can attest, but the hive life in store for us is not a natural one. “Men made it.” Surveillance capitalists made it.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power