Brave New World not 1984?

Posted in Apple, Google, Privacy by Tony C on June 11, 2010

Amusing Ourselves to Death

It was interesting to see a little while back John Naughton refer to 1984 and Brave New World in the context of Apple and the iPad.  I even blogged about it and I’m now wondering if he’d read Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death first.  I stumbled upon it as Ken Auletta refers to it in his book Googled in the context of their rather lax attitude to privacy and whether or not we are happy to trade away our data for a subsidised service. 

Contrary to common belief even amongst the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesise the same thing.  Orwell warns us we will overcome by an externally opposed oppression.  But in Huxley’s vision, no big brother is required to to deprive of their autonomy, maturity and history.  As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo the capacity to think…Orwell feared those who would deprive is of information.  Huxley feared those who would give us so much information we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.

Well are we happy for that to happen?


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