Why We Should Care More About Who’s Watching

Why We Should Care More About Who’s Watching

By Jeff Kagan

Sep 7, 2017 2:35 PM PT

George Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1949. When the year 1984 rolled around, Rockwell’s haunting song, Somebody’s Watching Me, featuring Michael Jackson and Jermaine Jackson singing in the background, made its debut and went on to become a classic.

Fast-forward to 2017. Today we are living the creepy life Orwell and Rockwell imagined, with technology increasingly intruding on our privacy. Technology has changed our lives forever, both for the better and worse.

We love our iPhones and Android smartphones. We love what Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home do for us with their artificial intelligence software, Alexa and Assistant.

Few are complaining about the loss of privacy now — there’s little discussion of it. Yet when loss of privacy was a feature of an imaginary future, many were creeped out by it. Why is it easier to accept as reality today than it was as fiction decades ago?

Perhaps incrementalism is the answer to that question. If the whole world were to change instantly, we would feel very uncomfortable and rebel. However, when it happens bit by bit, over time, we don’t seem to pay attention. New technology is invented, users love it — then bit by bit, year after year, we get used to one level of acceptance and then move to the next.

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