If nothing today changes, Huxley’s dystopia is our imminent and inevitable future, created as a result of modern consumerism, backed by the surge of mass surveillance technologies, turning us into a herd of hedonistic screen addicts.
Background and Evidence:
Some of this world’s governments can and do exhibit traits of several dystopian models, becoming mass surveillance and proving that “Big Brother” truly is watching us by using tracking software as it was intended and not just for consumerist purposes, such as the ubiquitous presence of surveillance cameras and the implementation of the social credit system in China. With software capable of comprehending human behavior to the greatest extent, sometimes even better than we can (instantly determining sexual orientation) governments already have nigh-absolute awareness of all our lives.
While creating a slight false dilemma, dystopian literature enthusiast Stuart McMillen compares Huxley’s version to the renowned Orwell’s dystopia, demonstrating our world’s more striking resemblance to the former, where, in an hedonism-centric age of predominantly deceitful information overload, there is no need for totalitarian control; degradation of the masses is unavoidable. McMillen lists several traits of world like this: books being obsolete; apathetic people, living in a world of diluted truth, glued to as many screens as possible. This distraction-based dopamine addiction of the general population is the precise reason why it is meaningless for further monitoring and control from the state: there is simply no need with such a passive population.
Sources I Have Found:
When Artificial Intelligence Knows Too Much (or Too Little) About You
Artificial Intelligence has become increasingly better at studying and understanding humans on a better level than we do ourselves, the risks of which are being addressed by scientists and philosophers alike. On the flip-side, the biased nature of software is a drawback that is attempted to be rectified by researchers.
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Huxley vs Orwell
It seems that unlike Orwell’s stricter predictions, the real world resembles Huxley’s dystopia more, where people are addicted to endless distractions and too focused on pleasure to notice anything around them. “Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”
Americans consume 100,000 words of information each day
Modern people suffer from information overload daily, consuming at least 30 gigabytes of data, which is 5 times more compared to our predecessors in 1986 and 200 times more if compared to the 19th century’s average person’s daily information consumption. This has consequently led to attention deficit in today’s generations: studies have shown our attention span is now less than that of a goldfish, all of which contributes to the development of a Huxley’s dystopia.
Sources I Have Not Found:
0. Most importantly, sources are required about companies’ targeted marketing, i.e. how ads always magically pop up at the right moment.
1. Searching for articles detailing how the Spartans used to regularly drug their slaves with excess amounts of wine, thereby making the latter too weak to ever revolt – intend to include this as an analogy in my Op Ed.
2. Additionally I want to provide concrete examples for McMillen’s illustrations using statistical information, e.g. about the decline of the annual average number of books read by Americans.
Counter Arguments To Refute:
Counter Arguments are most likely to be made in regards to the surveillance software itself, e.g. Facial Recognition Software:
0. Algorithms of software can be (re)programmed to explain the “thought processes” behind the decisions they make, which enables humans to closely monitor software with the intent of misuse and bias prevention.
1. Law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear regarding the surge of state tracking software.
I wouldn’t worry about plagiarizing yourself, Morra. By the time you’re finished revising your OpEd, it will bear little resemblance to your Practice Version. Plus, looked at from the right point of view, the purpose of the Practice version was precisely to prepare you for this more formal assignment.
But, since you asked, I have an angle that will help you further distinguish the Portfolio post from the practice exercise. Our culture is so adept at “self-surveillance” that the state needs only collect what we willingly provide. We WANT our phones to track us everywhere we go. We WANT to photograph ourselves every few days in new locations to create up-to-date images of our faces from several angles. We WANT our associates to keep in touch with us through social media, making co-conspirators of our entire circle of friends, family, and accidental followers. We’ve given it all away, and then FRET about our PRIVACY and the ownership of OUR data. Who are we kidding? We ARE Big Brother.
May I receive feedback for this work? I believe the issue discussed in my Writing Plan is topical, related to the current buzz about Facial Recognition Software.
May I receive feedback compared to my own practice Op-Ed I did several weeks ago, the thesis is similar, but changed every so slightly to make it different (I do not want to be plagiarizing myself unknowingly).