You may have heard the phrase, “Google is always listening.” Or, “Big Brother is watching you.”
Some believe it has already come true.
In my AP Literature class, we’re reading 1984, a classic dystopian novel by George Orwell that describes a totalitarian state in the “future.” The setting of 1984 is based in Oceania, an enormous empire that compromises the United States and several other countries around the world.
It’s eerie to think that Orwell, who wrote this in 1949, essentially predicted the future with “telescreens,” fictional 24/7 surveillance devices that blast propaganda; these electronics are comparable to the TVs and cameras of today’s age.
In class, we often joke that “the Party,” basically the supreme government of 1984, is just like the internet — “all powerful.” It’s extremely sad to say that, although we quip about “all-knowing” Google and other search engines, our reality isn’t too far off.
Even in my college applications, one of the Boston University essays asks if “there are limits to what the perfect search engine will reveal,” or essentially, “is Google is the mind of God.” Although we don’t want to acknowledge this alarming ideal, all students in the next generation need to respond by speaking out. If we don’t act, no one will.
I’m scared of how 1984 closely mirrors certain aspects of society. A plethora of “what ifs,” fills my mind every day, and none of those I want to address. Government censorship already exists in our world — look at Kim Jong Un’s reign over North Korea. His people cannot access the internet, much less speak for themselves. If they do, they may never surface again. Yet, it’s our American ideals that keep us free.
Don’t let any person, government or political party warp those freedoms until they’re no longer recognizable. I fully believe that we, even as students, can make a monumental change in the next decade. Prove Orwell wrong.