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Automating Communication in the Networked Society: Contexts, Consequences, Critique

Annual Conference of the German Communication Association’s Division “Digital Communication”

November 6 - November 8, 2019 in Berlin

Keynote | Shoshana Zuboff - Surveillance Capitalism and Democracy

06 November 2019 | 7 pm | Admission: 6:30 pm
Urania Berlin | An der Urania 17 | 10787 Berlin

Collection and analysis of data change the way the economy works. But are these changes fundamental enough to have led to the emergence of a new form of capitalism - surveillance capitalism? As human behaviour becomes ever more transparent, what is the importance of trust? Are individuals just an appendage of digital machines, objects of new mechanisms that reward and punish according to the rules of private capital? What is the impact of social cohesion when people become redundant as workers, while their data continue to act as a source of value creation in lucrative new markets trading in predictions of human behaviour? How can we control what we do not yet understand?

Each book published by social scientist and author Shoshana Zuboff is considered to herald a new era in technological society. Her latest work, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, unveils a world in which technology users are no longer customers, but the raw material for a whole new economic system. Zuboff is Charles Edward Wilson Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School and was Associate Professor at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School from 2014 to 2016.

The keynote is part of the Lecture Series „Making Sense of the Digital Society“

In this lecture series, the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) and the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb) invite distinguished thinkers to help us making sense of the digital society by offering high-level observations and analyses grounded in rigorous research. Previous speakers include Manuel Castells, Elena Esposito, Eva Illouz, Nick Couldry and José van Dijck. The lecture series will continue in 2020.

The event is part of Berlin Science Week

Berlin Science Week is a 10-day international festival between 1 and 10 November bringing together people from the world’s most innovative scientific institutions to celebrate science to connect and engage with the local and international science community and the public. Based in Berlin, Science Week is the global platform for dialogue and collaboration between science and society to inspire a deeper understanding of our world.


German Communication Association, Digital Communication Division
Christian Katzenbach, katzenbach@hiig.de
Christian Pentzold, christian.pentzold@uni-bremen.de

Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society/FU Berlin and Alexander von Humboldt
Institute for Internet and Society
Ulrike Klinger, ulrike.klinger@fu-berlin.de
Christian Katzenbach, katzenbach@hiig.de

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Publizistik und Kommunikationswissenschaft
Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft