Imagine living in a world where technology is controlled by a higher power and you basically have no say in your own everyday life. In the novel written by George Orwell 1984, this imagination is reality for Winston (main character) and all of the book’s society. Dictatorship by video surveillance is how society is run in the book 1984. It becomes something of intensity that is described how the use of technology is used to control public and even private behavior.
In 1984, the “Party” (dictatorship in 1984) watches every single persons movement and force everyone to watch a brain washing footage promoting no hate. This can be perceived as a good or bad in terms of either population control or nation wide obedience. This is Winston’s account:
“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. “Reality control,” they called it: in Newspeak, “doublethink” (Orwell 32).
This passage explains how the “Party” will and shall control everything: past, present and future. Could this potentially be our future of America? According to a web page titled “How Many Times are you Caught on Camera per Day?” apparently an average citizen living in a big city of modern day America is caught on film of some sort 75 times in a day (fox16.com).
Technology is a huge part of our daily lives. With the iPhone 5 and the smaller I pad coming into stores now, technology is becoming more and more advanced. In the book 1984,technology (which isn’t as advanced as what we use today) is almost the center of gravity. In this book it depicts a century of totalitarian leaders are the benevolent government officials as also how Big Brother is depicted all over the walls of buildings. In this book we see how they control technology through the eyes of Winston. As said earlier the Party uses technology to control the people. How they use technology to control people is horrific. For example the telescreen and how they caught him and Julia. Today in society the government has wiretaps on certain phone calls. So in a sense you have no privacy. “In general you could not assume that you were much safer in the country than in London. There were no telescreens, of course, but there was always the danger of concealed microphones by which your voice might be picked up and recognized; besides, it was not easy to make a journey by yourself without attracting attention” (Orwell 98).
Modern day technology is becoming more and more advanced. The question is, when will virtual/artificial intelligence grow a conscious and become “Big Brother” for us? Orwell wrote in his book about how the government developed a system of technology and then brain washed their people to be obedient. Is that what apple could do? As far as we know, we have nothing to worry about. But that’s only as far as we know. In the book 1984 the people lacked knowing the year. What knowledge are we lacking from our government? Orwell’s booked talked about what a lack of knowing practically everything and how it later can control and possess.
All in all this goes to show that any moment that maybe one day our world may be exactly like Winston’s. We will never know until that time comes. For now our technology is not controlled. There are limits on things but we still have a free country. As for the world in 1984 they had no idea or remembrance of a world where freedom ruled and not technology or Big Brother.
Orwell, George. 1984. New York: Signet, 1981.
“How many times are you caught on camera per day?.” Fox 16. Clear Channel
Communications, n.d. Web. 13 Dec 2012. “Is the World of 1984 Possible?.” BookRags. BookRags, Inc., n.d. Web. 13 Dec 2012. Rai, Alok Orwell and the Politics of Despair. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1988.