OPINION: We are living in 1984

Quintin Nelson, Staff Writer

Nineteen Eighty-four is a book written by George Orwell that fantasizes what life would be like if the government took full control. While this ‘future’ takes place over 30 years ago from present, the book presented a very possible and scary future for those in the 40s and 50s, when the book was released. But even now, in 2018, the ideas conveyed in the book are present in today’s society.

One of the most daunting things present in 1984 is the presence of government surveillance. There is no alley, building, room, or street that one could go without being watch by telescreens. Telescreens are, in a way, TVs with cameras and microphones. The telescreens constantly play music and videos of government appraisal and pride. This is something I will come back to on a later note.

Beside the point, these telescreens also have cameras and microphones in them. This way, wherever the telescreens are implanted, they will be able to see what anyone and everyone is doing, as well as hear anything one says. And if that’s not bad enough, they are in every room, every street, everywhere; one living in this society has no privacy: they are always being watched and heard. This sounds familiar to the way our technology is being used today. Though TVs aren’t overhead 24/7, we do have the next best thing: smartphones.

It is nearly impossible to be outside 100 feet of one in public. Smartphones are mini-telescreens: they provide a platform for advertising and they have camera and microphone. These two characteristics are very important. First of all, advertising, even for the Internet alone, is a very big business and government controlled tactic of persuasion. There have been experiments and studies taken that proves that your computer or device watches and listens to you and targets certain reoccurring interest. It then uses those targets to provide specifically chosen advertisements based on the information it has gathered. Not only that, but it seems that they are always watching. We are living in a society surveilled by the government. We can’t escape from it: devices are everywhere. We are in 1984.