The Rise Of The Tech Villain? Ctd

Felix Salmon rips into Dave Eggers’ “dystopian fantasia about social media,” The Circlewhich was just featured in the NYT Magazine:

The mag’s editor, Hugo Lindgren, gushes about how the book walks “the line between satire and bracing details that feel all too real” – but the fact is that, at least judging by the excerpt, Eggers strays so far away from verisimilitude that his book barely even feels like satire. Instead, Eggers is preaching to a group of people which has already made up its collective mind that social media is dangerous, and who love to one-up each other when talking about where the slippery slope might lead.

One problem? Too much villainy:

There are problems with Silicon Valley and with technology – don’t get me wrong. But they’re invidious, rather than being overt … The Circle is a malign organization; you can almost see its CEO, Eamon Bailey, stroking a white cat in his suburban Palo Alto lair, dreaming of Global Domination. In reality, however, the open protocols of the World Wide Web led naturally and ineluctably to our current loss of privacy. Tim Berners-Lee is no evil genius; he’s a good guy. And the Eggers novel I’d love to read is the one dominated by the best of intentions. Rather than the one which thinks that if technology is causing problems, then the cause must always be technologists with maleficent ulterior motives.

Recent Dish on tech villainy here and here.