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Orwellian Future is Near, Warns Microsoft President

Orwellian Future is Near, Warns Microsoft President

If we do not enact stricter laws regarding the use of artificial intelligence (AI), we could soon find ourselves living in an Orwellian nightmare, warns Microsoft President Brad Smith.

“If we don’t enact the laws that will protect the public in the future, we are going to find the technology racing ahead, and it’s going to be very difficult to catch up,” said Smith during a BBC special on China’s use of AI. 

“I’m constantly reminded of George Orwell’s lessons in his book Nineteen Eighty-Four. You know the fundamental story…was about a government who could see everything that everyone did and hear everything that everyone said all the time. Well, that didn’t come to pass in 1984 but if we’re not careful that could come to pass in 2024.”

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a dystopian social science fiction novel that explores the consequences of mass surveillance, totalitarianism, and the manipulation of history and facts. In the book, citizens live under the constant threat of surveillance and censorship. It is so bad that even their thoughts are policed. 

Orwell modeled the “Big Brother” government in his book on Stalinist Russia. Unfortunately, we are starting to see some of the same Orwellian themes today in America.

“We’re in a geo-political strategic conflict with China,” says Eric Schmidt, chair of the US National Security Commission on AI. “The way to win is to marshal our resources together to have national and global strategies for the democracies to win in AI. If we don’t, we’ll be looking at a future where other values will be imposed on us.”

China has made clear its intentions to become the world leader in AI by 2025. It has filed more AI patents than any other nation, including the United States. As reported by The Hill, the Chinese Communist Party has more than 385 million CCTV cameras. Its record on privacy and surveillance is among the worst in the world.

Here in the United States, tech companies like Facebook are taking unprecedented measures to control public dialogue (click here to read more). Progressive leaders are trying to re-write history. Numerous companies, including Google Maps, are under fire by advocates and experts who fear the government will use their tech to spy on and track the movements of citizens. 

Author’s Note: The question now is whose side will Big Tech fight on?


Microsoft President Brad Smith Says Orwellian ‘1984’ Could Become a Reality by 2024

Microsoft president: Orwell’s ‘1984’ may ‘come to pass in 2024’ without AI protections 

Orwell’s 1984 Could Become A Reality in 2024, Warns Microsoft President 

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  1. Ben

    As the Right has told us for years, “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about.”

    The left brought up these concerns 20 yrs ago when Republicans jammed the “Patriot Act” down our throats.

    But now that it’s more wide spread and impacting the lives of all of us, not just “those people”, all of the sudden there’s a problem?

    Well, it took a while, but I’m glad you’re on our side on this issue now.

    • Recce1

      As an old conservative constitutionalist curmudgeon, I’ve never held to position that those who walk the straight line have nothing to fear. Quite the contrary, having read the books of Huxley, Orwell, Wells, Wilson, and others almost 80 years ago, I have always believed that it’s the sane law abiding citizens who are at most risk from a rouge government.

      By the way, as I recall, there was only one Senator who opposed the Patriot Act.

    • Ricky

      You are saying 20 years ago. That means that you must be at least 38 to 40 years old or more. I cannot believe you are still a liberal at that age. Liberalism is for young people that do not have any life experience, so they believe in fairy dust and unicorns.

      • Ben

        I’m closer to 50, my wife and I make both make good living, we have successful investments and successful children.

        The difference between you and me, is we remember where we came from. The fact that as a young family we would not have made it without federal and local programs designed to help the poor. We owe so many people and entities for helping us get to where we are today. We understand we didn’t do this by ourselves and we are eternally grateful for the help we received. We want to make sure that help is available for the next generation. The current American motto of “I got mine” doesn’t jibe with our beliefs.

        I remember sitting in church as a young teen thinking, “I know these people, how do they listen to the liberal teachings of the Catholic Church and then go live the lives that they do?”

        We try to never forget our roots, where we came from, and the teachings that we grew up with.

        • TLC

          I am the same way Ben even though I am a conservative minded independent voter. I like the middle ground which has sadly slipped away!

  2. Ben

    Democrat Russ Feingold was the only U.S. Senator to vote against the original USA Patriot Act, which was approved 98-1 on October 25, 2001.[2][3] The House earlier approved the legislation by a vote of 357-66, with 62 Democrats voting against it along with three Republicans and Independent Rep. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

    I think we are ALL on the same page here. Along with Larry’s column on justice reform there are certain things that are Bipartisan, this is def one of those times.

  3. Rat Wrangler

    The technology is not the issue here, but the lack of legislation surrounding it. We need Congress to get out of the 19th century and into the 21st, and start passing some laws determining what can be done with any and all gathered information. If some camera placed in a public area catches your image, and no one is legally allowed to view that record before it has to be erased, does it matter whether or not the camera saw you? Sadly, we have no laws in place at present that can force such an outcome, so it is possible that your image might just get posted on Facebook at someone’s whim. This needs to be changed, and new laws are the only way to do that.