The Voice Catchers How Marketers Listen In to Exploit Your Feelings, Your Privacy, and Your Wallet Joseph Turow

Publication date:
22 Jun 2021
Yale University Press
344 pages: 235 x 156 x 24mm
Sales territories:

Your voice as biometric data, and how marketers are using it to manipulate you

The first in-depth examination of the voice intelligence industry, this timely book exposes how artificial intelligence is enabling personalized marketing and discrimination through voice analysis. Amazon and Google have numerous patents around voice profiling, and their smart speakers already extract and use your voice prints for identification and more. Customer service centers are treating you differently from other callers based on what they conclude your voice reveals about your emotions, sentiments, and personality, often in real time. According to scientists, your weight, height, age, race, and illnesses can also be determined from the sound of your voice. Ultimately not only marketers—but also politicians and governments—may use voice profiling to infer characteristics about you to serve their interests, not yours or society’s. 

Leading communications scholar Joseph Turow places the voice intelligence industry in historical perspective and offers a clarion call for regulating this rising surveillance regime.

Joseph Turow is the Robert Lewis Shayon Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. He is the author of numerous books, most recently The Aisles Have Eyes. He lives in Bala Cynwyd, PA.

“If you think your voice belongs to you, think again. Joseph Turow performs a critical public service, exposing in all its slimy detail this latest frontier of exploitation, where our voices are plundered for analysis, prediction, behavioral manipulation, and profit."—Shoshana Zuboff, author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

“A ground-breaking exploration of the new frontier of surveillance – the voice. With clarity and nuance, Joseph Turow reveals the stakes for democracies and liberty.”—Danielle Citron, author of Hate Crimes in Cyberspace

“In this forward-thinking and original book, Joseph Turow explores how our voices are the next frontier for technology companies and marketers, connecting the dots in a way that no one else yet has.”—Mara Einstein, author of Black Ops Advertising: Native Ads, Content Marketing and the Covert World of the Digital Sell

“In this well-researched call to action, Joseph Turow explains why we need to protect the human voice to shield our thoughts and emotions.”—Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Professor of Law in Residence, University of California, Berkeley

The Voice Catchers is compelling, thoroughly researched, and filled with jaw-dropping revelations. It gives readers a fascinating peek under the hood of the companies exploiting our voices, as well as reasons to hold them accountable.”—Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law and Computer Science, Northeastern University