Big Brother-The New Normal

I typed “Big Brother” into Google this morning and this is what I got…

Big Brother is back tonight – Season 19 starts @ 8/7c – cbs.com‎

That’s right, the CBS reality TV show.

There was nothing about George Orwell or the infamous “Big Brother” Orwell warned the world about in his classic book “1984”- nothing on the entire first page of Google’s main search results!

It wasn’t that Orwell wasn’t there, mind you- You just had to look hard… at the very bottom of the page… outside of the main search results… in kind of tiny, but bolded print… there Orwell is! In the alternate search results.

Other than that? Nothing! Just missing.

 

 

It’s not until you get to the very bottom of PAGE THREE that George Orwell’s iconic term “Big Brother” appears in the main search listings!

I have to say that was a surprise to me.

The Big Brother TV series is now hosting it’s 19th season of house guests, eclipsing search results for poor old George Orwell and his gloomy dystopian brooding. For many Americans, the only thing that comes to mind when they hear the term “Big Brother” is a voyeuristic reality show featuring strangers hooking up, fighting, swearing, wearing skimpy outfits and drinking for a chance to win $500,000.

So let’s see… In an age where AI algorithms threaten to quite literally breathe new life into the meaning of Orwell’s “Big Brother is watching you!”, CBS comes along and brings us (with it’s all-seeing-eye logo) a reality TV version of what is essentially a mashup of Huxley’s hedonistic “Brave New World” and Orwell’s surveillance state “1984”. What???

You can’t make this stuff up!

So yeah, I’m sitting here laughing at the incongruity of it all while at the same time pondering the strange juxtaposition.

But what’s not funny is that in a time when Orwell’s visionary warnings are more relevant than ever, the classic term “Big Brother” is found at the bottom of page three of the largest search engine in the world!

Considering that AI is poised to be the ultimate propaganda machine that’s kind of scary!

Scary not because I believe that Google is for some reason skewing search results away from Orwell or favoring the Big Brother TV show for it’s ad revenue. That could be remotely possible I suppose, but I highly doubt it. What’s really scary is that their algorithm is most likely showing us that the reality TV show is actually the new normal for what people think about and search for when it comes to the term “Big Brother”. The majority of people would rather just kick back, have a beer, and watch TV than worry about some tyrannical surveillance state or some Silicon Valley super algorithms taking over the world.

And that would seem to confirm Huxley’s and Orwell’s worst fears.