The phrase “behavioral surplus” is central to the subject of Shoshana Zuboff’s 2019 book “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.” The author is a professor emerita at the Harvard Business School. Here is Zuboff’s description of the term in the book’s Introduction:

“Surveillance capitalism unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data. Although some of these data are applied to product or service improvement, the rest are declared as proprietary ‘behavioral surplus,’ fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence,’ and fabricated into ‘prediction products’ that anticipate what you will do now, sooner and later. Finally, these prediction products are traded in a new kind of marketplace for behavioral predictions that I call ‘behavioral futures markets.’” (Terms highlighted with single quote marks are italicized in the original.)

Because of the way the term is discussed in the book it’s likely it originated early this century in the bowels of Google as the company searched for a way to reliably monetize their search engine. They found one.
“The shift of economies of scope defines a new set of aims: behavioral surplus must be vast, but it must also be varied.” ibid., p 199
by ex PFC Chuck April 21, 2021
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