Almost everything is digitised these days. From the modest beachheads inside our browsers, the tech companies have conquered, Blitzkrieg-style, our homes, cars, toasters, and even mattresses. With this reach, big tech has given itself immense social power and it’s using it, not just to try and solve what it thinks are the world’s problems, but to restructure it. Morozov argues the ubiquitous mining and monetisation of your personal data, dubbed ‘surveillance capitalism’, is marked by constant lying, concealment, and manipulation. With every new product and service that’s offered, you are becoming less a customer and more just a data source – and nobody seems able to stop it. Even the political debates about privacy are missing the point that a much larger – and possibly unstoppable – transformation is taking place in our society. Is it too late to protect ourselves from the tech monopolist?
Evgeny Morozov is a contributing editor at The New Republic and the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom and To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism.
He has written for The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, and other publications.
Toby Walsh is a leading researcher in Artificial Intelligence. He is Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at UNSW and Data61. He was named by the Australian newspaper as a “rock star” of Australia’s digital revolution. He has been elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and has won the prestigious Humboldt research award as well as the NSW Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Engineering and ICT. He has held research positions in Australia, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Sweden.