Our Digital Democracy in the Age of Surveillance Capitalism
International best-selling author and Professor Emerita at Harvard Business School Shoshana Zuboff will be the keynote speaker at the virtual 2021 George D. Aiken Lecture Series on Oct. 14, held by the University of Vermont (UVM).
Zuboff is the author of the international bestseller and New York Times notable book of the year, “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Feature at the New Frontier of Power”. Her writing synthesizes years of research and thinking based on the rise of digital and warns that surveillance capitalism, a term she developed in 2014, is undermining our personal rights and threatening democracy.
“We decide how we are going to be governed in a democracy. Facebook can do whatever it wants, so can Apple and Google, so can Microsoft, so can Amazon; they have unaccountable power,” Zuboff says. “This is a wake-up call. Together, citizens and law makers can build the infrastructures of laws and rights that we all need to tether this to our fundamental rights, tether it to public service, and make this digital century a safer democracy,”
At UVM, she will discuss her newest book and share what can happen if surveillance capitalism is left unchecked. Zuboff will offer an engaging and interactive conversation about a digital future where our personal information is back under our control. The 2021 Aiken Lecture Series is sponsoring by the University of Vermont College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences in partnership with UVM Continuing and Distance Education.
“Many of us at UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences work on machine learning algorithms for happiness meters, polymer composite optimization, and more,” said CEMS Dean Linda Shadler. “We all use technical devices that are likely supplying data. Do we know how our fundamental contributions and data are being used in this world of surveillance capitalism? Did we realize that we and our information are the iron ore of the digital age?”
UVM’s George D. Aiken Lectures are a permanent tribute to the former Dean of the United States Senate and Governor of Vermont for his many years of service to the people of the state and nation. The George D. Aiken Lecture series has been supported by an endowment created by George and Lola Aiken and held annually at the University of Vermont. Since 1975, the lectures provide a platform for distinctive views on critical American issues and is the University’s major annual public-policy forum.
The 2021 Aiken Lecture Series will be held virtually on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 5:00 pm EST. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit go.UVM.edu/aiken2021.
About Shoshana Zuboff
Shoshana Zuboff is the author of three books, each of which signaled the start of a new epoch in technological society. In the late 1980s her decade-in-the-making In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power became an instant classic that foresaw how computers would revolutionize the modern workplace. At the dawn of the twenty-first century her influential The Support Economy: Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism (with James Maxmin), written before the invention of the iPod or Uber, predicted the rise of digitally-mediated products and services tailored to the individual. It warned of the individual and societal risks if companies failed to alter their approach to capitalism. Now her masterwork, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, synthesizes years of research and thinking in order to reveal a world in which technology users are neither customers, employees, nor products. Instead they are the raw material for new procedures of manufacturing and sales that define an entirely new economic order: a surveillance economy. She is the Charles Edward Wilson Professor Emerita at Harvard Business School and a former Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. For more information, please visit: https://shoshanazuboff.com/book/.
About the University of Vermont Continuing and Distance Education (CDE)
UVM Continuing and Distance Education helps students of all ages and stages of life continue their education. Through collaborations with UVM’s various colleges and schools and professional development opportunities with industry experts and practitioners, UVM CDE offers courses and programs that meet the demands of today’s busy lifestyles. See the full course and program selection at Learn.UVM.edu.
About the University of Vermont College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS)
At UVM CEMS, faculty and students don’t just solve for X; they are part of a larger equation and the CEMS community reflects that. Students view each other as collaborators, not competitors; stellar professors are also active scientists who bring new knowledge to the classroom and welcome undergrads into their labs. Team-based, hands-on learning and faculty mentoring, along with dedicated professional career advising are among the reasons 97% of CEM’s students are employed or continuing their education within six months of getting their degrees. Many also take advantage of UVM’s ten Accelerated Master’s options.