I strongly disagree with the New York Time statement that Orwell's 1984's "greatness is only immediate, its power for us alone, now, in this generation, this decade, this year...it is doomed to be the pawn of time." When analyzing 1984 from a technological perspective, this novel is still very relevant to today's society. One theme that immediate caught my attention is the heavy surveillance apparent in 1984 specifically the telescreen which acts as the 'Big Brother', used for entertainment and information. The novel states that the telescreen both acts a screen to programs and such but it also is a surveillance device, as it monitors the people of Oceania.
The theme of surveillance in the Oceania related very well to the many forms of surveillance in our society. Earlier in the semester, I analyzed how many surveillance cameras record people from the time they leave their homes to the time they return in the evening. The frequency of surveillance devices found in stores, ATMs, parking lots, campus buildings, etc. were mind boggling. This is the same for the residents of Oceania only they are kept from knowing they are under surveillance while in today's society there are laws enacted to prohibit companies and individual from monitoring people in settings like bathrooms or privacy of homes. Surveillance devices used in evidence for criminal prosecutions are very similar to those evident in Oceania. Prosecutors can use footage capture by store camera in retail theft crimes. Similar to the propose of the telescreen in Oceania in finding out if people are committing treason or thought crimes. Also, today Surveillance cameras are also used by employers to make sure employees are actually working when they say they are. This relates to 1984 in plenty of experiences Winston has with the Telescreen ane being monitored by spies. Specifically in the passage, "In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people's windows". (pg.2)
Another passage that I found interesting on the theme of surveillance in Oceania was, "he took his scribbling pad on his knee and pushed back his chair so as to get as far away from the telescreen as possible. To keep your face expressionless was not difficult, and even your breathing could be controlled, with an effort: but you could not control the beating of your heart, and the telescreen was quite delicate enough to pick it up". Again, similarly in today's society it has become impossible to leave your home without being caught on video by a surveillance device and often time we are not aware we are being monitored become some devices are concealed. The only difference in 1984 is the Telescreen has advance capabilities to detect increase heart beating to determine stress or rebelliousness. Though this aspect is not yet apparent in today's society there is a possibility that it will be in the future with technological advance. Concluding that 1984 is still relevant in today's society and in some aspects can speak about the possibility of these things happening in our future.