I am just old enough to have gone through high school in 1984. Being science fiction literate, I was aware of George Orwell’s prognosis for that year. But Big Brother didn’t show up that year, at least not as heralded in the book 1984. Businesses were investing in cameras but only to stop their losses. It was an almost sensible year.
Van Halen came out with an album at the very start of the year. So they stole the title for their album. The album had nothing to do with science fiction which is to be expected for David Lee Roth lyrics. But this just shows that everyone had heard about 1984 – the book – and were largely unconcerned. And why not? Cameras still were expensive enough to be thought of as an investment by business and even government.
Everyone just thought that Orwell was wrong and not that market forces made 1984 an expensive proposition. It may not have happened in 1984 but Orwell simply switched the last two numerals around from the year he published the book in 1948. There was never meant to be a time limit.
So here we sit in 2018 with the signs of 1984 all around us. Cameras cost next to nothing. And it’s getting less and less costly to watch with them. AIs that may be stupid in other ways are getting good enough to man (for lack of a better term) them. And facial recognition software has come a long way.
Then you have various governments using 1984 as a guidebook. Trump is casting aspersions at what remains of the real watchdog media while propping up and praising arms of society known for their atrocious lying. And this is in a country that claims to be free. Just look at what all the dictatorships are doing.
My own government (Canada) has secret trials where you can hire a lawyer but you and your lawyer aren’t allowed to see the evidence against you. They do this all in the name of terrorism. This is not the act of a free country.
Don’t be blinded by the year 1984 pride. We weren’t Orwell’s dictatorship yet because society needed time to get there. Technology needed time to get there.
In the free world we are coming into the fight of our lives. In the dictatorships the battle may already have been lost. 1984 seems a likelihood, now, just not by that due date.