Over Easter I read The Circle by Dave Eggers. I wouldn’t normally blog about my recreational reading, but there is such a strong overlap between the themes of the novel and my research and teaching interests that I have decided to post my review here.
The tale’s main setting is the Silicon Valley campus of a tech company in the not too distant future. The Circle has already gobbled up several other familiar enterprises and, as such, may be conceived as a fictional amalgamation of companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter. Its earnest workforce is involved in numerous innovative projects to make the world a “better” place where communities are safe, and a genuine democracy works for the good of all. Circle technologists work on a bewilderingly wide range of innovations that include, for example, systems to eradicate criminal dangers such as child abduction and to guard against political corruption.