George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four framed the way people think about a particular issue in a way few other novels have ever done. The ideas in Orwell’s novel are so common now, that even people who have never read the novel (or seen the movie) are familiar with the terms Big Brother, doublethink, thought police, and newspeak. So much so, that societies and governments that appear to be controlling their populace through surveillance are described as Orwellian.
My new novel, d.evolution, engages with some of the ideas George Orwell first put forward in Nineteen Eighty-Four, and updates the technology that Big Brother uses to control the people. In d.evolution, Big Brother isn’t just watching you, Big Brother is inside your head.
But how could this happen?
Is it reasonable to suggest Big Brother is even possible? Don’t we know better now?
Modern technology makes it theoretically possible. Most internet users don’t consider what is happening in the background when they log on. How the free online services we use scrutinize our usage patterns and online behavior to help them turn a profit. Or how our obsession with social media would make it quite easy for Big Brother to keep an eye on us.
In d.evolution, the integration between man and machine via neural implants plugged directly into the user’s brain, gives New World Technology (the Mac Daddy of Internet companies in d.evolution) the ability to locate anybody, anywhere, at any time.
I’m a technology optimist (it doesn’t concern me that the online services I use are tracking my behavior because I see it as the tradeoff for getting access to some really cool services) but even I think it is sometimes worth asking the question:
How could this all go wrong?
d.evolution is my answer to that question.