“Smart” cities, big data, “green growth” and 5G

Note from Brian:

Having written and posted the Green Growth, Smart Technologies and 5G article I started reading Shoshana Zuboff’s “Age of Surveillance Capitalism”. Having got about 1/3 of the way through Zuboff’s book it is quite clear to me that I need to go back to the drawing board and re-think. I have therefore withdrawn this article – sorry! The processes described by Zuboff are far bigger and more insidious than I had thought – I need to finish reading Zuboff’s book, write a comprehensive review of it. Then I need to extensively amend and rewrite the article that I wrote.

On a quick skim I do in fact think that Zuboff’s book has a profound weakness – because, unless I have missed them, she appears to have no sense of the bio-physical dimensions of what she has written about. In other words there is not an analysis of the implications of the fact that the whole show must be plugged in to energy sources which are toxic, depleting and becoming more expensive. There is also no sense that the infrastructures of surveillance capilalism are likely to have a collosal health impact for the environment, plants, animals and people. Thus it will end badly. However the book itself is a description of a totalitarian, unethical and insidious business model that gives me the creeps. It has enormous implications for our consideration of the mental health and other implications of the limits to growth – particularly for young people who have never known anything else. Zuboff has a conceptual framework that is clear, compelling and frightening and I need to understand it and re-write.

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2 Replies to ““Smart” cities, big data, “green growth” and 5G”

  1. Having written and posted the Green Growth, Smart Technologies and 5G article I started reading Shoshana Zuboff’s “Age of Surveillance Capitalism”. Having got about 1/3 of the way through Zuboff’s book it is quite clear to me that I need to go back to the drawing board and re-think. I therefore wish to withdraw this article – sorry! The processes described by Zuboff are far bigger and more insidious than I had thought – I need to finish reading Zuboff’s book, write a comprehensive review of it. Then I need to extensively amend and rewrite the article that I wrote.

    On a quick skim I do in fact think that Zuboff’s book has a profound weakness – because, unless I have missed them, she appear to have no sense of the bio-physical dimensions of what she has written about. In other words there is not an analysis of the implications of the fact that the whole show must be plugged in to energy sources which are toxic, depleting and becoming more expensive. There is also no sense that the infrastructures of surveillance capilalism are likely to have a collosal health impact for the environment, plants, animals and people. Thus it will end badly. However the book itself is a description of a totalitarian, unethical and insidious business model that gives me the creeps. It has enormous implications for our consideration of the mental health and other implications of the limits to growth – particularly for young people who have never known anything else. Zuboff has a conceptual framework that is clear, compelling and frightening and I need to understand it and re-write.

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