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Troy Schwant
Troy Schwant
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Were Steve Jobs and George Orwell right after all?

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I still remember being an 8 year old kid and watching the Super Bowl between the Redskins and the Raiders and viewing a commercial that I did not understand, though I thought was pretty cool. Of course the Apple “1984” commercial is still considered a landmark advertisement that is in the conversation as one of the top commercials ever produced.

As an 8 year old I didn’t understand the societal or competitive issues that the commercial was trying to raise. I like many other viewers didn’t even understand what the commercial was about until the very end of the commercial explaining that Apple was releasing a personal computer called the “Macintosh” that was supposed to revolutionize the personal computer. Here is a youtube link of the commercial:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhsWzJo2sN4

The purpose of this commercial was to show how Apple considered itself as a completely different company then big bad IBM. That IBM was corporate Big Brother, while Apple represented the individual. Apple considered themselves as artists while looking at employees of IBM as suits. This commercial spoke to the true spirit of what Steve Jobs thought Apple could be. Looking back to 1984, it is now ironic that Jobs’ selected George Orwell’s 1984 to use as a parody. Jobs considered IBM as Big Brother. A corporation determined to crush the individual spirit. At the time if you had told Steve Jobs that Apple would become more like Big Brother than IBM ever dreamed, it would have been something that Jobs could not have imagined, yet it has happened.

Orwell’s literary classic “1984” focuses on omnipresent government surveillance, and the Party elite that persecute individualism and independent thinking as thought crimes. The tyranny is lead by Big Brother, a party leader who justifies his rule in the name of a supposed greater good. I haven’t read 1984 in close to 20 years, but the lasting impression from Orwell’s classic is the constant fear of an all knowingly government tracking your every move. Orwell apparently was only off by twenty five years and Steve Jobs apparently didn’t realize that it would be Apple that would become part of the Party elite. Currently there is litigation pending in California where the Plaintiffs allege that when users download and install apps (applications) on their Iphone or Ipad, the apps access personal information on those devices without the users’ awareness or permission and send the information to a third party for financial compensation. Here is an article that discusses Apple's litigation issues involving privacy:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/13/us-apple-tracking-lawsuit-idUSBRE85C19220120613

Companies like Lindedin, Facebook, and Apple are trying to strip away privacy rights of individuals in the name of technology and so far they are getting away with it. Companies like Apple are installing more and more devices that track users where ever they go, track what they buy, track the internet sites they visit, and can even track where they are in the world with GPS. Big Brother told the citizens that they were being watched for their own good, I wonder what Apple’s reason is.

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  1. Michael Timpe says:
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    I just read an article very similar to this the other day on CNN about concerns over the IPhone 4S, and Siri in particular. Apparently IBM has banned the use of Siri in the workplace due to the fact that anything you say to it is stored on a data center in North Carolina. Its crazy to think that any personal e-mails, text messages, and searches you run through Siri are all saved by Apple.