From the book: “1984” by George Orwell (June, 1949). A book of science fantasy whose time has come only 60 years after publication. We thought, long ago, that the world of Winston Smith was a vision of a world that we would never see. It was too extreme and beyond the pale of all societies save those behind the Iron Curtain where whole populations could be exiled to the Siberian steppe. A world where threats to the state could be eliminated quietly with no judicial review in “black” sites around the world.
We didn’t commonly have computers in 1949. We didn’t have cell phones or “handys” to keep our secrets, phone numbers, itineraries, and “apps.” Yes, we have outsourced our innermost thoughts to multi-capable smart phones that can locate us anywhere on earth to within a few yards or within a communications cell execute a wide variety of sophisticated programs. We were warned of the future, and it is now.
There is no going back to an earlier time, our Rubicon has been crossed and we are fighting a defensive game to limit the control that the data miners wish to have over our lives. The following Ted Talk describes the extent to which a simple cell phone function, making a call, intrudes into our lives as data from our lives are stored. It shows how a cumulative record of phone calls can create a network of relationships that we may not even be aware of. This may not seem very important since most of us lead uninteresting lives. In the wrong hands, however, it creates a nightmare scenario from which we might not want to awake.n