1984 and Us: Technology’s Grasp

Alright, part 2 here we go. In my last blog about 1984, we talked about the double speak/double think that’s reflected in both the recent presidential election. Maybe it isn’t fair to just focus on the current president, because I’m sure politicians from all walks of life have been guilty of falsehoods since politics became a thing, but I digress.

That’s not what we’re focusing on today. Today, we’re talking about technology. While George Orwell got a lot of things right, he could not and did not anticipate the birth of social media. And social media is actually proving his point better than he could.

So much of our information comes from the internet, right? If you have a question, you Google it. If you want to learn about something, maybe you can check WikiHow. Or watch a YouTube video. The break up that just happened between those two people you kind of knew in high school? You’re probably getting updates from their Facebook pages. And maybe those are all great places to get information, but what happens when an entity or entity begins controlling the information you receive?

Well, then they could very well censor the kinds of articles, videos, images, whatever that you’re able to access. As you can imagine, they could also give us access to information that is half truth or an outright lie. I talked about fake news a little bit in the last blog, but this is different. If someone spreads a news article that is completely off the mark and thousands of people share it, that’s on us. If the government can censor the internet, that’s a much bigger issue. What’s to stop them from deleting every piece of information on something like the Armenian Genocide? How do we know they haven’t scrubbed the internet of any incriminating information about a politician or an entire government? We don’t know. How much control do we really have here?

While Orwell may not have anticipated social media, he was pretty close to the mark in terms of technology’s use as a monitor. I really don’t want to go into the  thought police or anything because I’m not really sure that we have anything close to that. Sure, the NSA can read your texts and see your nudes, but I don’t know if we are thought police level bad yet.

Tech, on the other hand, is absolutely being used to monitor. If recent WikiLeaks are correct, then our phone microphones are always listening. Our cameras are always recording. Our smart TVs can hear everything we say. Not to mention, we are putting ourselves on the internet, broadcasting our locations, moods, homes, and children onto the internet for anyone to find. So yes, the government is monitoring us. Yes, our technology is spying on us. But couldn’t we say that we are inviting them right in? Wouldn’t you say we are helping them do it with our tweets and status updates? Nothing we do is private anymore. Privacy is dead.

That all sounds pretty grim, and it is. But has society ever not been grim? Isn’t that the whole thing with being cast out of paradise? That now we have to live with ourselves because no one else wants to? Probably. There are still rays of hope though, and we catch them where we can. People still love despite hate, create in spite of oppression, and rise up when they’ve had enough. On the whole, though, people are selfish and we’ll never live in a perfect society. Someone will always be spied on, enslaved, treated like dirt. How you feel about it depends on what side you’re on.

So let’s end this depressing blog on a positive note. Here’s a cat.

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Triscuit is helping me with knitting… in June. The cycle of fall self destruction is over.
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