Blind Faith: Dissecting Eggers on Technological Praise

In Dave Egger’s novel The Circle, the company of the Circle preaches to its customers and its employees of its complete human nature. Everything that goes on in the Circle has a origin from a human being’s hands, but as we learn throughout the novel, there are more cyborg manifestations that go on in their system than human ones. It seems as the novel progresses the consumers of the Circle’s propaganda, employees and customers alike, become more reliant and mesmerized by the superiority and knowledge associated with technology that they have become closer and closer to the complete dehumanization of the entire world.

One instance in which we see this emergence of awe for technological advances is when Mae first receives the headset which asks her questions about her life (Eggers 234). Mae thinks that the voice, which was made to imitate her own, “sounded less like her and more like some older, wiser version of herself”. Mae compares the new computerized voice to one that she imagines “if she had an older sister, an older sister who had seen more than she had, that sister’s voice would sound like this” (Eggers 234).

The way that Eggers denotes the kind relationship Mae has with the technologic encounters she experiences while at the Circle is similar to the way a younger sibling looks up to an older one. They look to the older sibling for knowledge, for things they don’t know about the world and in some cases as the image of a hero. It is interesting that Eggers uses this analogy because it gives the idea that Mae has put the voice that is a mere imitation of her own on a pedestal. The only difference between her own voice and the program is the fact that the program is in fact not human, and that makes it the older wiser sibling, even though to speak chronologically, Mae was alive first, knows more about the world than this machine does. It is also interesting that Eggers has Mae think of the computerized voice as a more knowledgeable sibling when its very job is to get answers from Mae, not to teach her anything new.

When he makes this analogy, Eggers is commenting on how the technological advances, no matter how minute they may be, even simple addition of computerization to a voice makes the voice itself better, smarter, wiser, and more knowledgeable. What the Circle wants its employees and customers to remember is that they themselves, yes, are human. But the way that the Circle teaches its employees to respect and value every knew advancement that comes through the doors of the Circle makes it seem as though that is merely a mask that they are trying to project onto the public. Although Mae may personalize her responses to her clients, they are still generated by a computer. Although the Circle is saying they have eyes across the world it is through a camera lens transferring a picture onto a computer. Whenever technological advances are present, they create something better than human, something worthy of emulation and praise, which is where Eggers brings present the contradictions being upheld by the Circle.

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