Have you ever read George Orwell’s “1984” book ? In those times of global surveillance, Big Data and massive hidden data collection processes, everyone’s talking about Big Brother but few actually know what it is. Last year I finally made time to read “1984” and was not disappointed; except perhaps that Big Brother is not as much personified as I expected.
One invention that really struck me (pardon me for my candidness) was the telescreen, the instrument through which surveillance of people was operated. Telescreens were installed everywhere to monitor behaviors and capture opinions. With connected devices this Orwell’s vision has become reality within 30 years from his book’s publication.
I was surprised to find a much earlier occurrence of telescreens some 50 years before Orwell’s book. As soon as 1936 Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times were already featuring a plant’s director monitoring his employees and giving instructions through giant screens. The scene where Chaplin goes to the bathroom to take a break and smoke a cigarette is most ressemblant of a dystopian reality.