Today I just saw 1984 stage play directed by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan from a novel that has the same title written by George Orwell. This event held by Theater für Niedersachsen (TfN). It was awesomely smart and somehow dispiriting. Before I go further about what I thought, here is some short synopsis. Spoiler alert!
Our protagonist, Winston Smith, is a low-rank member of a ruling party in the nation of Oceania. The party's leader known as Big Brother. "Big Brother is watching you!" these words aren't a joke. The party watches everyone through telescreens, so they could control everything just like they want it. Presently, the party invented a language called Newspeak, which eliminate all words related to political rebellion. The side also prohibits free thought, sex and any expression of individuality.
Winston feels frustrated about them and also his job. His works at Ministry of Truth is to alter facts to benefit the needs of the party. Winston dislikes the social gathering and wants to join the Brotherhood, which against the side. He and his lover, Julia, who are more optimistic and pragmatic person than Winston, turn to O'Brien, higher member of the party, who claims to be one of the Brotherhood. But of course, it was a trap. The lovers get separated, and Winston is tortured and brainwashed in room 101. After a month, the two finally meet again. But Winston has no more feelings towards Julia. He accepts the party and loves no one other than Big Brother.
In the end, the winner is the one with power. Small-fry like Winston and Julia are nothing. What a cruel ending. But yeash, it is a great story. If not, I'm not going to write it here. After enjoying the show, I have a small discussion with my girl about our world right now. So the question is: Are we living in Big Brother's world?
It is not like telescreens watch us every time as the story has. Google knows what we are thinking. Youtube knows what we saw. Apple, Samsung, Garmin, and Fitbit measure our health. Amazon Kindle logs how we read. Facebook drives our attention. Instagram gives recommendations what we want to see. Siri and Alexa listen to us. Spotify even knows how much times we skip a song. They are all real and it seems in most cases, social bots know us better than our parents or friends.
It becomes worst if we add secret services to the list. I'm sure they are super busy with collecting data every second they have and make perfect algorithms to help them do their job. Apropos algorithms. With correct algorithms, both our voice and mimic can also be copied and produces a digital face, just like FaceRig did to me. This software is entertaining, to be honest. Yeash, let's back to the topic, with the developing of algorithms, computer become smarter and smarter.
Computers become great chess players. In some area of work, they are also better than the worker. They aren't tired, not complaining, need no vacation, and pay no taxes nor social contributions. In no time, maybe they will be a better car driver. Better analysts, engineer, doctor or whatever. They can answer quicker than us since they already have the answer before being asked. They have all information they need. With a search engine, language assistant, and measuring sensor at home, Google try to be all-know being, a digital God, thanks to algorithms. Even their ex-employee want to register Artificial Intelligent (AI) as a religion.
Naja, Wissen ist Macht
She said, try to end this discussion because it was late already. Yes, Knowledge is Power. She reminds me the motto of a famous school at my homeland. Okay, that information is not essential, you may forget it xD. The thing is, if we are smart (in this case: they have knowledge and technology), we can rule everything, just like the story tells. Sooner or later, this world becomes digital paradise. A smart planet, whereby everything is fully automatic. It may be a perfect world if human not disrupt it. I don't feel afraid about AI takeover like in the movies, neither my girl, since she tries to live without technology. She knows she can't avoid all of them, but at least she severe on it. It is always good to have technology to help us. The problem is mostly the user self. If the user is the wrong person, maybe they will become like Big Brother. Ok, another interesting question just popped up. Is Big Brother exist in 1984 story? Or he is only an AI?
We didn't try to answer it. We just enjoy the night and get our self ready for tomorrow. Maybe someone wants to answer that. Anyway, thanks to her I can have a better understanding of this theater play. I can only understand the performance maximal about 70%. Yeash, just that high. I'm missing some details since my Deutsch isn't that great. But still, some quotes are available. I will write it here as a memento. If you want the explanation, just search on Google for them. But don't forget, Big Brother is watching you!
Who controls the present controls the past.
In the End
Before I sleep, I write this blog while hearing the soundtrack of the play. It was Erik Satie's Gymnopédie No.1. It is my all-time fave. The director used the song when Winson and Julia are full in love. I don't even know how that simple move and scene can be so beautiful. Another song is Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World. In the second half of the play, a char recited the song frequently, and at the end, they sang the song together as Winston declare who he is now. Now, this two songs gained more values for me. It was a beautiful night.
Interesting video regarding the issue State of Surveillance.