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Too Smart: How Digital Capitalism Is Extracting Data, Controlling Our Lives, and Taking Over the World

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Who benefits from smart technology? Whose interests are served when we trade our personal data for convenience and connectivity? Smart technology is everywhere: smart umbrellas that light up when rain is in the forecast; smart cars that relieve drivers of the drudgery of driving; smart toothbrushes that send your dental hygiene details to the cloud. Nothing is safe from sma Who benefits from smart technology? Whose interests are served when we trade our personal data for convenience and connectivity? Smart technology is everywhere: smart umbrellas that light up when rain is in the forecast; smart cars that relieve drivers of the drudgery of driving; smart toothbrushes that send your dental hygiene details to the cloud. Nothing is safe from smartification. In Too Smart, Jathan Sadowski looks at the proliferation of smart stuff in our lives and asks whether the tradeoff--exchanging our personal data for convenience and connectivity--is worth it. Who benefits from smart technology? Sadowski explains how data, once the purview of researchers and policy wonks, has become a form of capital. Smart technology, he argues, is driven by the dual imperatives of digital capitalism: extracting data from, and expanding control over, everything and everybody. He looks at three domains colonized by smart technologies' collection and control systems: the smart self, the smart home, and the smart city. The smart self involves more than self-tracking of steps walked and calories burned; it raises questions about what others do with our data and how they direct our behavior--whether or not we want them to. The smart home collects data about our habits that offer business a window into our domestic spaces. And the smart city, where these systems have space to grow, offers military-grade surveillance capabilities to local authorities. Technology gets smart from our data. We may enjoy the conveniences we get in return (the refrigerator says we're out of milk!), but, Sadowski argues, smart technology advances the interests of corporate technocratic power--and will continue to do so unless we demand oversight and ownership of our data.


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Who benefits from smart technology? Whose interests are served when we trade our personal data for convenience and connectivity? Smart technology is everywhere: smart umbrellas that light up when rain is in the forecast; smart cars that relieve drivers of the drudgery of driving; smart toothbrushes that send your dental hygiene details to the cloud. Nothing is safe from sma Who benefits from smart technology? Whose interests are served when we trade our personal data for convenience and connectivity? Smart technology is everywhere: smart umbrellas that light up when rain is in the forecast; smart cars that relieve drivers of the drudgery of driving; smart toothbrushes that send your dental hygiene details to the cloud. Nothing is safe from smartification. In Too Smart, Jathan Sadowski looks at the proliferation of smart stuff in our lives and asks whether the tradeoff--exchanging our personal data for convenience and connectivity--is worth it. Who benefits from smart technology? Sadowski explains how data, once the purview of researchers and policy wonks, has become a form of capital. Smart technology, he argues, is driven by the dual imperatives of digital capitalism: extracting data from, and expanding control over, everything and everybody. He looks at three domains colonized by smart technologies' collection and control systems: the smart self, the smart home, and the smart city. The smart self involves more than self-tracking of steps walked and calories burned; it raises questions about what others do with our data and how they direct our behavior--whether or not we want them to. The smart home collects data about our habits that offer business a window into our domestic spaces. And the smart city, where these systems have space to grow, offers military-grade surveillance capabilities to local authorities. Technology gets smart from our data. We may enjoy the conveniences we get in return (the refrigerator says we're out of milk!), but, Sadowski argues, smart technology advances the interests of corporate technocratic power--and will continue to do so unless we demand oversight and ownership of our data.

30 review for Too Smart: How Digital Capitalism Is Extracting Data, Controlling Our Lives, and Taking Over the World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jolynn

    I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought the author did a great job portraying the level of governmental and corporate surveillance rife in modern society and describing the consequences of such surveillance to individuals and society as a whole. I’m not sure I entirely agree with all the suggestions in the final chapter, but I certainly am in the camp interested in holding on to my dumb appliances. I have no interest in filling my house with things that watch me and listen to me. I do not I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought the author did a great job portraying the level of governmental and corporate surveillance rife in modern society and describing the consequences of such surveillance to individuals and society as a whole. I’m not sure I entirely agree with all the suggestions in the final chapter, but I certainly am in the camp interested in holding on to my dumb appliances. I have no interest in filling my house with things that watch me and listen to me. I do not need my refrigerator to order my groceries and virtual assistants that let me turn on music without getting my ass off of the couch. Hard pass. And this book does a good job of putting smart technology in the broader context of surveillance culture. Agree or disagree with the recs, I think the book is full of information every average citizen should know. Smarter flat out isn’t always better.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ietrio

    In fact, the too smart is Jathan Sadowski. He has discovered a way in which pushing papers and just coming to work is enough to make a good living. That good living is created by the money collected by the Government and given to him in exchange for his undying loyalty. In this volume he explains how the usual suspects are forcing the user to give its data. Of course some details are missing. Like how one can refuse to watch the ads or block the trackers, but the same person would end up ruined a In fact, the too smart is Jathan Sadowski. He has discovered a way in which pushing papers and just coming to work is enough to make a good living. That good living is created by the money collected by the Government and given to him in exchange for his undying loyalty. In this volume he explains how the usual suspects are forcing the user to give its data. Of course some details are missing. Like how one can refuse to watch the ads or block the trackers, but the same person would end up ruined and in jail if they avoid the tax collector that enable thousands of Jathan Sadowski to live the good life. One can always no subscribe to any of the said services, which can't be told about the tens of millions of conscripts of the same Government. Finally, the "Digital Capitalism" is the problem and not the Five Eyes (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_...) who have the ability to take people and put them in secret prison indefinitely. In the end, there are so many who live off the taxes collected from the poor, the widows and orphans, but Jathan Sadowski is not content with the good life and want more, and fights to become another ideologue of the Total State.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael Koltsov

    Great read if you want to become paranoid and understand that we're living in an antiutopia now. Technocraties everywhere, your data is sold and bought at every corner. Shouldn't be read by anyone who's relatively tech savvy, you'll find it funny as hell. Good for protesters and rioters. Great read if you want to become paranoid and understand that we're living in an antiutopia now. Technocraties everywhere, your data is sold and bought at every corner. Shouldn't be read by anyone who's relatively tech savvy, you'll find it funny as hell. Good for protesters and rioters.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I'm not sure I agree with every single argument in this book, but I do think it's a hugely important read for anyone who wants to have a say in society's future. So basically, everyone. It introduced to me some new concepts that both build upon and expand from many of the sociocultural trends we see developing today. And, although the author is an academic, the book is well-written and readable (THANK YOU!). I'm not sure I agree with every single argument in this book, but I do think it's a hugely important read for anyone who wants to have a say in society's future. So basically, everyone. It introduced to me some new concepts that both build upon and expand from many of the sociocultural trends we see developing today. And, although the author is an academic, the book is well-written and readable (THANK YOU!).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jim Fettes

    The most important book you haven't yet read. Sadowski skewers the unsettling world of 21st century techno-capitalism, laying bare the growing injustice and crushing surveillance we all live under. Forget 1984--today's world is much weirder and much shittier than any dystopian future-fiction. The most important book you haven't yet read. Sadowski skewers the unsettling world of 21st century techno-capitalism, laying bare the growing injustice and crushing surveillance we all live under. Forget 1984--today's world is much weirder and much shittier than any dystopian future-fiction.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ben Wolfson

  7. 5 out of 5

    kiubert

  8. 5 out of 5

    Steffen

  9. 4 out of 5

    Altaf Darzi

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ang Gonzalez

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Green

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dph

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeremiah

  16. 5 out of 5

    Veronika

  17. 4 out of 5

    Khan Ashraf Alif

  18. 4 out of 5

    Zack Brown

  19. 5 out of 5

    Markus

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stujah

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pierce Lockett

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sim

  23. 4 out of 5

    sigurd

  24. 5 out of 5

    PepeWyndham

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jaemin Kim

  26. 4 out of 5

    Neuendorf

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Berg

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jose Rubio

  29. 4 out of 5

    mihir

  30. 5 out of 5

    Steven

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