Lena Lindgren - Selected Title Author

We are happy to present our selected title author Lena Lindgren. She has written Echo. An essay on algorithms and desire (original title: Ekko. Et essay om algoritmer og begjær).
The book is one of NORLA’s Selected Titles of the spring 2024.

Lena Lindgren. Photo: Fartein Rudjord/NORLA

Echo. An essay on algorithms and desire is about how Silicon Valley is changing civilization itself through our senses. I use the ancient myth of Echo and Narcissus as a prism for the present day. In this myth, the nymph Echo is punished for her endless chattering and condemned to only be able to mimic others. A cruel punishment! The lonely Echo then falls in love with Narcissus, who drowns in his own reflection. What can this story tell us?

Today, we often say that we live in a narcissistic culture in the West, but in the book, I bring Echo out of Narcissus’ shadow and look for “echoism” in our day and age. We encounter Echo in digital memes, scandals, witch hunts, and echo chambers; she is viral by nature. Echo shows us that inside every human is a “mass human” and that humanity is actually one sensitive, continuous organism. Echo creates kings, scapegoats, and trolls; here, glamorous influencers appear side by side with Donald Trump and the terrorist Anders Behring Breivik. Echo is also the story of how a natural resource – human attention – became a commodity in Silicon Valley’s business model. Some get richer in this attention economy. Who gets poorer?
Echo is suitable for all ages, genders, and social classes; it’s a book for everyone who wants to understand more about our turbulent time. It combines reporting from Silicon Valley with reflections from science, philosophy, and psychology to portray humanity’s blind date with artificial intelligence. The book has inspired wide public conversation, been used extensively as curriculum material in high schools in Norway, and been a source of inspiration for an opera, a musical festival, and a theater production. In this way, it has given language to how it feels to be human in an era where we are increasingly enveloped by artificial intelligence.

Read more

See full presentation of the book here

Reas more about the author here

See all NORLA’s Selected Titles for the spring 2024 here