Opinion | Is Limitless Choice Killing Us Slowly?

Produced by ‘Sway’

Imagine a world in which Google and Amazon join together to form an all-knowing corporate juggernaut that could program our every movement. Author Dave Eggers has contemplated such a future in his latest dystopian novel “The Every.” Eggers, who limits his own use of technology to the bare minimum, says he was inspired by the limitless choice of our digital world and the idea of a data-driven tech monopoly that would use “your preferences and algorithmic-determined personality” to help you “become the better version of yourself and the ultimate version of yourself.”

[You can listen to this episode of “Sway” on Apple, Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

In this conversation, Swisher asks Eggers how close the real world is to this fictional dystopia. They dig into Eggers’s tech skepticism, his fears of an e-commerce “apex predator” poised to destroy our retail biodiversity, and why he probably won’t be on Jeff Bezos’ “phallic” rocket ship. He and Kara also discuss his the challenges that Amazon’s rapidly-growing market share poses for smaller publishing houses like Eggers’s own company McSweeny’s, and why he’ll still be selling paperbacks of a book that is critical of Amazon … on Amazon.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

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“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Blakeney Schick, Matt Kwong, Daphne Chen and Caitlin O’Keefe, and edited by Nayeema Raza; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Sonia Herrero; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Liriel Higa.

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