字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 George Orwell was born as Eric Blair in 1903. The name George Orwell - his pen name - was something that was invented to be as English sounding as possible. Orwell is a river that runs through Suffolk, and George is that quintessentially English name. So Orwell is kind of a created self. He is a version of himself that he puts across in all of his writing - in his essays, in his journalism. In a way, the character of George Orwell is kind of similar to how we today curate our online identity, particularly in social media. Like most people of his generation, Orwell was fascinated by technology and what technology could do, without ever having any clear idea of what it actually practically consisted of. Just after the Second World War, for example, he was given, or bought, one of the very first biros, which had just been invented. And Orwell thought, I think, that this was a kind of miraculous invention. Orwell's novel 1984 is full of technology, and what technology can do to help oppressive systems work their evil, basically. The principle controlling device, the telescreen, has this extraordinary ability to monitor people as they go about their daily lives, and literally spy on almost everything they do. But there were also a few spaces where these telescreens don't exist - in working class areas of London, for example, in the parole pub. If only that were true in the contemporary world. There's no real escaping from our interactions with screens on a daily basis - it's almost impossible not to look at one. One thing that's different about Orwell's most famous book, 1984, and the present, is that in 1984 the state controls all the media and all the messaging that citizens interact with. In the present day, there's a much more diverse landscape in terms of how things are reported, and the fact that we can all, with smartphones in our pockets, type about what's going on in front of us and post videos online, is an important distinction to be made. This said, there are states who try to suppress people talking about things online, and we see this all over the world. Some recent examples might be in Kashmir, where there's been a media blackout, and in Xinjiang, in China. If he were alive today, it's perfectly conceivable that Orwell would have been sifting through social media, with the idea of writing some kind of structural analysis of how it worked, in much the same way that 70, 80 years before, he would write essays about the kind of magazines that teenage boys read in their spare time. Orwell, in a way is like the curation of our digital selves today. Part of the character of George Orwell that he creates is to be a truth teller - to tell it down the line. To tell it like it is. Orwell may have been troubled by the way in which mistruths and lies and even innocent mistakes can spread so quickly on social media, out of control. Technology enables this. It's very easy with a smartphone, or with Twitter and social media to sow a seed of disquiet - to seed an untruth into people's consciousness. Orwell was obsessed with the idea of future worlds, the shape of things to come, and obviously the part that technology would play in enabling those worlds to exist and function.