The latest thing we’ve all got to worry about in this brave new world of ours is that the young, not having read Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, are simply too eager to give up their information and privacy to the tech giants.
Those richer in years have been forewarned by the novel and are thus less likely to get sucked into this Faustian bargain. We greybeards are thus cleverer than the puling youth. Or summat.
The problem with this particular worry is that O’Brien and the Party wanted that information, that privacy to be stripped away, for one reason, and the tech giants want the information for quite another. The two situations simply aren’t comparable.The Telegraph reports:
Young people willingly give up their privacy on Google and Facebook because they have not read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four unlike previous generations, a leading academic has warned. Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at Sheffield University, said that large corporations were hovering up private information and modern generations did not realize it was wrong. He said that older people who had grown up reading George Orwell’s 1984 about ‘Big Brother technology and ‘ authoritarianism’, were in a better position to resist the creeping erosion of privacy.
One way of putting this is that there’s privacy and then there’s privacy. Sure, you can track my web visits if doing so means that I get free searches of the accumulated wisdom of mankind. Or you can track who I link to on Bitchbook and in return I get the free use of the site. That’s one form of privacy and its loss.
Then there’s the government insisting that you don’t even get the option of privacy. You cannot opt out of the data collection or of the monitoring, even if you decide that you are willing to give up some of the delights of the modern world. You will be watched, your actions will be recorded and, whenever the government feels like it, they will be corrected.