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The future does not look bright: a dystopia is inevitably imminent. Worst of all, it is going to be our own creation. The combination of consumerism and manmade surveillance technologies will turn us into hedonistic screen addicts, which greatly resembles the future described by Aldous Huxley in “Brave New World.” Mankind’s existing culture of “self-surveillance” is the biggest contributing factor to the dystopia’s development. Governments only collect what we willingly provide, such as our devices’ location-tracking services, our daily (potentially intimate) photo uploads to social media, and ceaseless messengers-based communication that jeopardizes everybody close to us. We are the “Big Brother” we have to fear, not the state.
Governments have absolute awareness of our lives – a situation that mirrors Orwell’s description of a dystopia. Presently, countries like China have already become surveillance states, using artificial-intelligence-based technologies for tracking purposes, e.g. ubiquitous cameras and the social credit system. Such software is so advanced that it knows us better than we do. For example, programs can even effortlessly determine an individual’s sexual orientation. According to some, these technologies can be closely monitored for the prevention of bias and misuse, as well as that law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear. However, experts state that software has been developing so terrifyingly rapidly that its structure and algorithms are no longer understandable to its creators.
Even more uncanny is the resemblance of our world to Huxley’s description. Enthusiast Stuart McMillen visually illustrates that we already are a population consisting entirely of hedonistic distraction-addicts. In such a world, the high-quality truthful information is drowned in the sea of false and/or meaningless capitalist trivia; monitoring people becomes redundant because of their passivity. These predictions are slowly coming true. According to studies, we suffer from information overload, consuming 30 gigabytes daily (200 times more than our great-grandparents!) which has led to massive attention deficit. Even a goldfish’s attention span (6 seconds) is greater than ours (5 seconds)! This information overload is caused by the unlimited advertisements of corporations, who greatly benefit from it. They use tracking technologies to trap us in an endless consumerist loop, which proves Huxley’s views that “People are controlled by inflicting pleasure,” and “Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”
Time is our most valuable, non-replenishable resource, which should not be wasted. Distraction-addictions dull our life-views and prevent us from self-actualizing and simply living life to the fullest. A proposed solution, typically advocated by gurus and influencers, is to have an information diet, i.e drastically reduce consumption of unimportant information. Regardless of the approach, the goal should be to use our limited time as wisely as possible; as we, not the state or corporations, see fit.