The Every is the sequel to The Circle. The Every is the name of the company that is formed when The Circle merges with the jungle (Amazon in disguise). The Every provides everything you would ever want or desire. In fact, The Every’s algorithms are so good that you don’t even need to have desires. The computer will decide your desires for you!
This novel once again follows a young woman, Delaney Well, who has solid revolutionary intent and wants to destroy The Every. I will not give much away, but I enjoyed this book and the writing.
I know that no book is easy to write, having co-authored three, but Eggers does have a formula. He takes something outrageous that Facebook or Google has done to manipulate us or to invade our privacy and turns the situation up to 11. Or in the case of smart speakers, just re-tells what actually happened. I am sure that many people will think this is all a fictional dystopia, but no. It is our current dystopia. Case in point:
Didn’t we (the smart speaker manufacturers) reveal, … after we were caught, that our smart speakers were turning themselves off and on at their own behest? And didn’t we admit, after we were caught, that we were listening to and recording anything we wanted at any time, anything that was said in the private homes of hundreds of millions of users? And didn’t we reveal, after we were caught, that we were recording all the private conversations every user had in the privacy of their own homes?
After all this openness and contrition, they said, it stings to think that customers would wonder aloud if other shoes might drop. No more shoes, said the manufacturers, would be dropping. We stand before you barefoot and humbled. When it was revealed that the manufacturers had in fact hired 10,000 humans, whose only purpose was to listen to, transcribe and analyze the private conversations that had been recorded by these smart speakers, the manufacturers were amazed at the outrage, as muted as it was.
Yes, they said, we have all along been recording and listening to your conversations, they said to their customers, but none of these 10,000 workers know your names, so what possible difference would it make that we have all of your private conversations recorded, and that we could with one or two keystrokes de-anonymize your conversations at any time? And, given the fact that every database ever created has been hacked, these recordings could be accessed by anyone at any time who had will enough to get them? What, the manufacturers asked, are you getting so worked up about?
In fact, no one got worked up at all. Lawmakers were mute, regulators invisible, and sales skyrocketed. And so when the Every… created a next-level smart speaker, privacy was not promised or expected.
Amazon Link: The Every