They know everything about us. And we know very little about them.
The internet was created to help people share information and communicate. But now companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple are using the internet to spy on people, find out what they want, and then use that information to sell them things. This makes the internet something like a giant surveillance machine.
Your experience is the raw material from which these companies make their money. But their operations are designed to be mysterious or even unknown to us.
The old ways of thinking about how capitalism works do not apply to this new “surveillance capitalism.” To learn more, check out our Instaread on The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.