Dave Eggers Discusses Technological Issues Addressed In His Novel ‘The Circle’

David Eggers, author of “The Circle,” visited Penn State last night to give a talk regarding his novel and the social issues addressed in it. “The Circle” was chosen as the Penn State Reads book for the 2016-2017 school year, meaning all freshmen were supposed to read it before starting school in the fall. It takes on issues of technology and the consequences of it becoming too powerful and out of the public’s control.

Eggers shared the stage with Dan Moulthrop, CEO of The City Club of Cleveland, to participate in a casual chat about his opinions on technology, where society is headed, and other themes that take place both in the novel and in real life.

Eggers’ interest in writing the novel was sparked when he received an email from a friend who knew exactly at what time Eggers opened his email. This freaked him out a bit because his friend’s right to know outweighed Egger’s right to privacy. He had already begun taking notes about the dangers of the digital age but did not know what to do with them. He eventually pulled everything together when he got a new job on a campus where everyone wanted to know what he was doing online at all times.

“I did not realize the social expectations and obligations of the campus,” Eggers said.

Those who read “The Circle” may be wondering if Eggers hates technology as much as it comes across in the novel. He says no, but does have some concerns for the direction society is headed and what can come of our discoveries. Eggers believes society is evolving quickly in one direction — that of technology — and the world shows no signs of slowing down.

“Digital tools bring out the best and worst of humanity,” Eggers said.

Eggers believes that people are naturally good but knows that technology and having an online persona can bring out a completely different side in us all, the side that only exists behind the safety of the screen.

The Penn State Reads discussion will continue on Sunday, Oct. 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Foster Auditorium of the Paterno Library. Sue Paterno will lead a talk about the themes in “The Circle” as a part of Penn State Parents weekend.

About the Author

Allison Wulfhorst

Allison Wulfhorst is a freshman majoring in journalism and minoring in business. She is a music enthusiast and her hobbies include listening to music, writing about music, and watching One Tree Hill (she's re watching it again so if that does not say dedication then what does?) You're welcome to email her at [email protected] or follow her at @AlliWulfhorst on Twitter.

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