UniMAP 2025: Foresighting for a Frenzied Future
George Orwell, the English author, in his book called “Nineteen Eighty Four” wrote about life set in the year 1984, painting a depressing picture of a world filled with propaganda, never-ending war, and a life occupied with pervasive scrutiny of one’s life by others. One of the tools Winston, the protagonist in the dystopian novel, has to contend with is the telescreen. Its functions are to monitor a person’s movement and capture their conversation where ever they may be, including in private places such as one’s own home. What is very compelling about the book, we find, is that it was written in 1949. Orwell was able to predict rather splendidly what he thought life would be like 35 years ahead of the time he wrote the book. Now, fast forward 69 years later, Orwell’s telescreen is really not very different from our smartphones and other social media devices. Our smartphones now not only keep information about us once we log in, but are able to gather information from our speeches even when we are not talking into it! Orwell’s 1984 is an epitome of foresight, as it is not only the telescreen in the novel that we can identify with in the 21st century, but many other aspects of the current sociopolitical goings-on in the world. If Orwell were still alive today, we would like to ask him – what would higher education be like in the next ten years?