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I Spy

In Orwell’s novel, he uses the concept of the “telescreen,” which symbolizes the complete control that Big Brother has over the citizens. The telescreen is an all-seeing eye that surveillances the citizens and each of their actions. They do this to watch for even the slightest signs of rebelliousness. In today’s society, there are arguments to be made to our community getting closer to that one predicted in 1984. Amazon’s Alexa is possibly the world’s biggest suspect when it comes to a modern-day “telescreen.” Having owned an Alexa for a few years, I have seen how others react when they notice it, and how my behavior has changed because of it. Whenever someone would see it most people my age would tense up, some would even unplug the small machine.
After a while I did research and found out that Alexas are always listening and sometimes recording. After finding out from Florian Schaub, an Assistant Professor in the University of Michigan School of Information, that the devices “are always listening, but, by default, they are only listening for the ‘wake word’ or the activation keyword.”, I got rid of mine. Changing my behavior was never a thought that crossed my mind, I never would change who I was no matter what, I always try to find a solution to the problem rather than giving in. Having a tap for lack of better words, in your home has no advantages in my eyes. As a creative person, the thought of government control is terrifying. The idea of the government being able to hear everything I am saying is just a first step to something scarier, no privacy, and complete control. The loss of creativity and art would come with the loss of free speech and free thought. Giving up my privacy would never be an option for me, but not because I have anything to hide, I’m scared of what happens after that. There are bad people everywhere, and no matter how many precautions we take, nothing will stop them from wanting to do evil. The government would not use the surveillance for good, and they would be overcome by greed and become power-hungry. They would use this information they were collecting for the wrong reasons and maybe even use it for blackmail. The safety of our country will always be fluctuating, and losing our privacy will not make it any safer. We, as citizens, would start to lose our humanity slowly, and the world would become a grey corporate world instead of the one we live in now. The quality of life we are living is just as important as safety, because if we are not enjoying the life we are living, then what is the point.


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