On today’s episode of Modern Notion Daily, our guest is Nicholas Carr, a science and technology writer whose most recent book is The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us (W. W. Norton, paperback September 2015). Carr thinks that automation has advanced society and the greater good in innumerable ways, but we may have passed the “sweet spot”—the point where automation helps us but doesn’t displace people from their jobs or, essentially, make us dumber. Using case studies including plane crashes, driverless cars, and the like, Carr explains what using automation does to us on a psychological and intellectual level. Later in the hour, contributing editor Erin Blakemore explains how the U.S. government’s brutality against the Navajo Nation in the 1860s has worsened the effects of a rare genetic disease today.

Music this hour: