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New student association starts out by addressing surveillance capitalism
theo [dot] hagman-rogowski [at] soclaw [dot] lu [dot] se (Theo Hagman Rogowski)
- published 16 May 2019
Doxa, a new student association at the Department of Sociology, hosted their first public event on 14th May. A panel discussion featuring researchers from Lund University and Denmark covered the implications of surveillance capitalism, a phenomenon expected to grow extensively in just a few years.
Other than strengthening the sense of community among students at the department, Doxa wants to contribute to letting more critical social scientists be heard in public debates. To their opening event researchers Jutta Haider and Anders Hylmö had been invitied, along with the Danish philosopher Rasmus Ugilt, to discuss how algorithms and artificial intelligence is used to collect data on people’s internet related activities.
About 50 attendants came to drink apple must and hear Rasmus Ugilt explain that, from a Marxist perspective surveillance capitalism, companies like Facebook and Google are becoming very wealthy by transforming human experience into raw data. It can happen when you write someone an e-mail about rainy weather and then you start seeing ads for umbrellas. In this kind of capitalist system, people are data points constantly being harvested for information.
Expected to increase Anders Hylmö noted that machine learning is constantly improving the algorithms collecting the data, and it is imperative to collect as much data as possible. “What we’re seeing of surveillance capitalism today are just the outlines of what we can expect in the near future.”
I didn’t have time to hear Jutta Haider’s presentation. Invasive thoughts about for ever being milked for information made me hurry home to eat everything I could, preparing to hibernate until the fall of modern society. It failed. Had I studied biology instead of social sciences I would’ve known that humans can’t hibernate (especially not in the spring). But I am at least receiving a lot of offers about cryogenically freezing myself.
Next semester, Doxa plans to host regular actives for all students at the Department of Sociology. More information about the student association Doxa and their events can be found on their Facebook page. Logging to be harvested is not necessary.