Udayavni Special

George Orwell’s ‘1984’ could become a reality by 2024: Microsoft President Brad Smith

Team Udayavani, May 30, 2021, 12:48 PM IST

Source: The Washington Post

Brad Smith, Microsoft President says that George Orwell’s novel “1984,” where totalitarian surveillance was part of life and could soon become a reality.

According to Brad Smith, it may be a reality as early as 2024, if artificial intelligence (AI) is not regulated better.

1984, published in 1949, explores themes such as government surveillance, totalitarianism, and how a dictator can manipulate and control lives by knowing what people are doing and saying at all times.

Brad Smith is worried that if we adopt the kind of AI once only imagined in such dystopian novels, the complete control of a nation under a totalitarian regime is absolutely possible.

In the novel, citizens lived under the constant threat of surveillance and censorship, not only infiltrated the consciousness of thousands of people but also gave rise to phrases and concepts, Big Brother, Thought Police, Room 101, that are recognized and relevant even today.

While speaking to BBC during a programme that explores China’s increasing use of AI to monitor its citizens, Smith said, “I’m constantly reminded of George Orwell’s lessons in his book ‘1984.’ 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.”

Smith even called on world leaders to enact stricter laws to govern the use of AI, “we are going to find the technology racing ahead, and it’s going to be very difficult to catch up.”

According to Reuters, China in 2017 had released a plan outlining its ambition to become the world leader in AI by 2025.

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