Back in 7th grade we had some discussion in history class long since forgotten but was ended by the statement "Remember, 1984 is only eight years away". While the rumor had it George Orwell picked the title 1984 from switching the last two digits from the year he wrote the book, 1984 the year loomed large ahead in that cold war world we lived in.
1984 the year itself came and went without much hoopla beyond a unmemorable movie adaptation.
I was reminded of 1984 by a recent play adapted from the book at Brandeis where my daughter now attends. They told the story quite effectively in flashback during the torture of Winston Smith.
And now we sit three decades later with revelations that the NSA track who we call and contact and Google knows nearly everything about me, including where I am at all times. Dave Eggers recent novel The Circle draws a rather direct line from the Internet giants of today to the world of 1984.
The Internet also offers the greatest deterrent to 1984, encouraging free-flowing quick dissemination of information and ideas, at least in the countries that allow it.
We've hit the technical capabilities both to enable and prevent 1984. So what happens next?