Surveillance capitalism

„Do you spend too much time on social media? Do you want to cut it down, but you just can’t? You’re not the only one. In fact, some of the highest-paid minds on the planet are working to make sure you’re on digital platforms as much as possible.

Surveillance capitalism can be defined as a system in which a massive collection of personal data on user behavior takes place in order to gain the highest possible profit. In other words, every click we make is analyzed in detail in order to spend as much time as possible on a given platform so that it can make as much money as possible from advertising. But it’s definitely not any ordinary advertising. In fact, Facebook alone has more than seven thousand patents for algorithmic analysis of its users‘ data for targeted advertising purposes. And that’s still just the tip of the iceberg. Take Google; 92.5% of all internet searches are conducted through it, its Google Maps takes up a full 67% of the digital map market, and the Google-owned Android operating system is in 85% of smartphones. And so the list goes on. Digital corporations simply have so much information about us that they often know us better than we know ourselves, without exaggeration. It is, therefore, a huge concentration of a new type of power, which is fundamentally transforming our society.

And it is through the prism of the social sciences, especially political science, that we will look at this topic. We will talk about how social bubbles – in which we are enclosed by the algorithms of social networks – are related to political radicalization. We will discuss how the fact that people spend so much time online – and therefore meet less in person – has an impact on civil society, which is one of the fundamental pillars of democracy. We will also look at the possibilities of regulating these corporations. In this context, we will discuss whether social networks can ever fulfill the ideal of a kind of digital agora. Last but not least, we will also discuss where future developments may lead. In other words, are there reasons for optimism, or is a digital Kafkaesque-Orwellian world in which human beings will be de facto hacked inevitable?“

Vašek Šmatera

Vasek’s desire to understand the social and power order led him to study political science at Masaryk University, and without much doubt, he decided to continue his studies at the doctoral level, focusing on the political attitudes of over-indebted citizens. However, he is well aware that it is not only books that one lives by, and so he is gathering practical experience, for example, by working on election campaigns, interning in the Senate, or by field research on voter preferences, which resulted in a documentary on voters of political parties. But he also worked in Stockholm at a port or as a football referee. In addition to being a passionate political scientist, Vasek enjoys traveling by train, listening audiobooks, and is also a collegiate sports nut.

Session D

Art Against the Mainstream

Štěpán Folget

Biological Psychiatry

Aleksa Petković

Categories of Political Science

Gosha Evlanov

Contagion: infectious disease and society

Jana Lohrova

Cross-cultural studies 101

Mwika Kiarie

Defending Human Rights

Mirek Crha

History from Liberty to Liberation

Emma Nabi-Bourgois


Soňa Feciskaninová

Neuronal Biophysics

Sara Banovska

Positive psychology

Laura Opletalová

Sound, music, and science

Sol Johansen

Surveillance capitalism

Vašek Šmatera

Sustainable design

Mariana Ochodková

Theory of General Relativity

Bohdan Glisevic