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Sci-Fi Stories That Predicted the Surveillance State

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the why-couldn't-they-have-gotten-holodecks-right-instead dept.

Sci-Fi 213

Daniel_Stuckey writes "Just to address one thing straight away: one of your favorite science fiction stories dealing, whether directly or indirectly, with surveillance is bound to be left off this list. And 1984's a given, so it's not here. At any rate, the following books deal in their own unique way with surveillance. Some address the surveillance head-on, while others speculate on inter-personal intelligence gathering, or consider the subject in more oblique ways. Still others distill surveillance down to its essence: as just one face of a much larger, all-encompassing system of control, that proceeds from the top of the pyramid down to its base."

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213 comments

Nothing to predict (4, Insightful)

hessian (467078) | about 9 months ago | (#44303917)

All technology is used by those who are in power, or want power.

That surveillance is one of those powers isn't particularly new. People had networks of spies in ancient times.

The real question is the people in power. They will have this power, and they will use it; toward what end? And, what is their level of moral rectitude?

I don't think we can use rules, laws and regulations to keep them in line. They need to be good people.

Re:Nothing to predict (4, Interesting)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 9 months ago | (#44303971)

Again, the reasoning behind the 2nd amendment here in the US.

If "they" won't be good for the right reasons, then fear is a good motivator.

That said, how about a more recent book or pair of books? Little Brother and Homeland both by Cory Doctorow @ craphound.com

Re:Nothing to predict (5, Insightful)

TomR teh Pirate (1554037) | about 9 months ago | (#44304129)

Please. The 2nd Amendment has never, ever done anything to prevent the government from steadily eroding 1st-Amendment, 4th-Amendment, or any-other-Amendment rights. Don't like NSA spying? Where are the 2nd Amendment nuts to put things right? Oh that's right...they're cooped up in fox holes in Idaho, where they've had their asses handed to them on an as-needed basis not by the US Army, but by tiny little SWAT teams. It's a tired trope, and frankly laughable.

Re:Nothing to predict (3, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#44304231)

Where are the mass arrests?

Re:Nothing to predict (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 9 months ago | (#44304893)

Where are the mass arrests?

Get the guns out, people with bigger guns show up and there you have your mass arrests.

Or mass shooting, whichever comes first.

Re:Nothing to predict (4, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | about 9 months ago | (#44305331)

The US gov will try to hide form the optics of a "mass arrest".
Every political leader understands Tiananmen Square, the US had its Bonus Army en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonus_Army
The US seems to be going for generational change re the 2nd Amendment- taxation, total registration, education (via youth, movies, tv), criminalization, locked transportation away from any ammo, more police questions in legal open carry states.
Your 2nd Amendment "should" cover some basic gun rights in your city or State, but jail time and fines might be the everyday reality despite Federal court cases over the years.
The US gov has learned from the Vietnam protests that "mass arrests" include some very well connected authors, lawyers, wealthy students and press.
With the risk of HD footage and sound, a good legal team a day in open court is not the the chilling effect it once was.
The US gov seems to favour infiltration, the mass use of state and federal "Agent provocateur" (infiltrate left and right wing groups and ensure crimes on camera) i.e. group leaders can be arrested just before protests
The protesters are then offered deals to bring in more quality arrests, after an event to be protested are offered 'fines' vs risking court, turned into tame busy work movements or people are moved around Federal jail system for a few week, months..
The individual is broken with lack of sleep, food, no contact with their legal team, medication withdrawl, or face a type of "Soviet punitive psychiatry" until their paperwork is found.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MERRIMAC [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_RESISTANCE [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Core [wikipedia.org]
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/18/patriot_games [foreignpolicy.com]
Show the evolution of US thinking on ideas like "mass arrest" - go for the person. Map out then tame, shape any "movement" leaving nothing but informants and tame groups ready to join any real protesters.

Re:Nothing to predict (5, Insightful)

bdwebb (985489) | about 9 months ago | (#44304233)

The idea is that every citizen in the country has a right to bear arms so that, in the event the government decides they want power indefinitely and implements a new governmental structure, there are millions of guns and citizens to prevent them from outright declaring the constitution invalid. The fact that our constitutional rights and amendments have been ERODED over years seems instead of simply stricken from the record to me represents a direct result of the 2nd amendment's existence..otherwise we would never have returned from martial law following any one of the wars that our country has gone through. Until the "Patriot" Act was introduced, the government was essentially unable to find and/or put into law an overarching 'workaround' that allows them to essentially do whatever they want. This is being a bit general but unless you're retarded you know what I'm getting at.

Maybe instead of the random errant 'nuts' that you describe we should all take a personal responsibility and march on Washington and force our elected officials out of office for not working as agents of the people and therefore violating the entire purpose of their postings. Most of those 'nuts' were sane people driven to paranoia by the things that most of us ignore outright as SOP for the government. Maybe if we were all a little nuttier and didn't have one-dimensional opinions like yours, we wouldn't have things like PRISM and the Patriot Act.

Re: Nothing to predict (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304385)

If the headline is about sci-fi predictions of the Orwellian state, why not just fill in the rest?
The Orwellian state seems inevitable.
Step 2,people get off the planet.
Step 3, the realize they want to be free and the government comes down on them.
That's it.
That's the future.

Re:Nothing to predict (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304741)

The idea is that every citizen in the country has a right to bear arms so that, in the event the government decides they want power indefinitely and implements a new governmental structure, there are millions of guns and citizens to prevent them from outright declaring the constitution invalid.

Hahaha.....heh... you make me laugh, you're so cute...
Seriously though; you and what army? Let's assume each and every single gun owner in the country takes up arms against the government... how long do you think you'll stand a chance against armored vehicles with non-lethal sound weapons, lethal automatic weapons, mines, RPGs, airstrikes, Apache helicopters, tanks, HMVs, navy ships firing at you from 5 miles away, SWAT teams, etc...
It is a fairytale that the 'armed militia' will be able to overthrow the current regime... snap out of it! The age of revolutions is over (oh, and you've lost)!

Now fall back in line, citizen; report tomorrow at 0800h for re-education

Re:Nothing to predict (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304945)

You're the one who's being "cute", by assuming that war is a simple question of "who's got the biggest gun".

You could learn the facts, but you will always actively avoid doing so, because that would require you to reconsider the comforting lie that the world is a simple place that you have all figured out.

Also, you should be aware that trying to bolster an argument with "haha, you're so funny and cute" is a universally understood signal that you lack confidence in your own position. This is unsurprising since said position is far too childishly simplistic to survive extended contact with reality. You're breaking, and your ineptly affected amusement is the sound of that breakage.

Re:Nothing to predict (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304983)

0800h. Is that a time or an IRQ line?

Re:Nothing to predict (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44305301)

It is a fairytale that the 'armed militia' will be able to overthrow the current regime... snap out of it!

Indeed, your reasoning is why it was so easy for the United States to prevail in Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan,
and with Somali pirates.

Ooops, wait, actually the US has lost all the above encounters, and this despite use of armed drones, Agent
Orange, B-52 Arc Light raids, and other crimes against humanity. Seems like the people who were not willing to
give up against what would be assumed to be overwhelmingly superior force have actually won every single time.

So fuck you, you bootlicking Pentagon stooge, take your lies and your propaganda and shove them
up your ass.

Re:Nothing to predict (1)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#44305381)

how long do you think you'll stand a chance against armored vehicles with non-lethal sound weapons, lethal automatic weapons, mines, RPGs, airstrikes, Apache helicopters, tanks, HMVs, navy ships firing at you from 5 miles away, SWAT teams, etc...

I think it'd be over pretty fast. After all, the rebellion would have that equipment (if nothing else, it'd come from the military units defecting to their side). And one needs sound logistics to play with those toys for more than a few days. Logistics is easy for a fully armed society in full rebellion to completely disrupt. For example, no fuel means no working armored vehicles or planes.

Re:Nothing to predict (1)

Harvey Manfrenjenson (1610637) | about 9 months ago | (#44305495)

Logistics is easy for a fully armed society in full rebellion to completely disrupt. For example, no fuel means no working armored vehicles or planes.

I would imagine that the US military has more than a few days' worth of reserve fuel and could keep supply lines running for quite a while, especially within its own borders. Anyone with a military background care to comment on this thread?

Re:Nothing to predict (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304997)

You know the first amendment doesn't protect talking about the violent overthrow of the US. Gov't.

Re:Nothing to predict (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44305305)

Yes, it does.

It arguably doesn't protect advocating violent overthrow, but you can talk about it all day long. And since the person you responded to was doing the latter and not the former, your statement is pointless.

Re:Nothing to predict (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44305337)

You know the first amendment doesn't protect talking about the violent overthrow of the US. Gov't.

Who said anything about violence ?

When our alien masters arrive on earth, their mind control techniques
will require not a single shot be fired. And all of you will line up and be happy
to be chosen as food or fuel.

Re:Nothing to predict (4, Informative)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 9 months ago | (#44304459)

Please. The 2nd Amendment has never, ever done anything to prevent the government from steadily eroding 1st-Amendment, 4th-Amendment, or any-other-Amendment rights.

Wrong.

Might want to research what occurred in Athens, TN in the 1946 "Battle of Athens".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens_(1946) [wikipedia.org]

Might also want to find out what's happened through history to people who have been disarmed by their governments.

Innocents Betrayed: The True Story of Gun Control http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPMqfXIJpNE [youtube.com]

The 2A isn't about civilians going toe-to-toe with a regular army. It's about making it a very costly proposition for enemies of the people of the US both foreign and domestic.

Strat

Re:Nothing to predict (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44305125)

Wrong...and wrong to the guy below you. The second amendment was because the Founding Fathers feared a standing army.
Of course that ship has sailed. We not only have a standing army (+navy and air force), but also a de facto national police force.
The only hope I see is that all this military might couldn't handle a bunch of folk in black PJs running around the jungle 40 years ago, and a bunch of guys with on horses and mules armed with WWII Russian rifles in the Kush. So how are they going deal with a bunch of Rednecks with hi-power hunting rifles in the mountains of the west and east?

Re:Nothing to predict (5, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | about 9 months ago | (#44304527)

The 2nd Amendment isn't meant, necessarily, for the populace to storm the Senate every single time they pass something that is disagreed with; you do its proponents a dishonour to paint them this way.

The 2nd Amendment is a poison pill, a reminder in a way, for the day that comes sooner or later, as no government can resist decay, when its own must dismember it, turn the soil, and grow something new. It's there to remind them that what they are doing is the right thing, that they have the complete backing of the original progenitors of this government to slay the Leviathan when it forgets its contract, and believes itself to be God. That's so they do not shed a tear at its funeral, and do not tarry from the work that will need to be done, as quickly or slowly as they prefer, when the time comes. Contrary to the Supreme Court's belief that it is the sole interpreter of the US Constitution, a mistruth that has been propagated for far too long as it is, the power has, and always will, rest with the People. I do, however, find it touching that the US Government would prefer to hold court over whether it is following its own social contract inside one of its own courts....stocked with its own choice of judges.

Re:Nothing to predict (4, Interesting)

mirix (1649853) | about 9 months ago | (#44304171)

I keep hearing this line... but the US govn't has been rotten to the core for ages, and I still see no uprising.

When is this 'refreshing the tree of liberty' thing going to happen? Never?

They don't seem to be terribly afraid of your pea-shooters, either... letting people have guns is apparently less of a threat to power than losing votes due to further restricting them. They get to run roughshod over all the other rights, as long as folks are satisfied with having their arms.

Re:Nothing to predict (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#44304247)

When is this 'refreshing the tree of liberty' thing going to happen? Never? ... letting people have guns is apparently less of a threat to power than losing votes due to further restricting them.

You basically provide the answer. The government still changes by means of election, and the politicians still are concerned about what the voters will do when they vote. The Republic endures.

Re:Nothing to predict (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304371)

Oh, please. What proof do you have that these so called "elections" aren't rigged?

Re:Nothing to predict (5, Insightful)

quenda (644621) | about 9 months ago | (#44304589)

The government still changes by means of election,

So far as I can see, the election changes very little. Giving people a choice of two figureheads is not democracy.
Real democracy needs transparency, accountability and rule of law. Whether there is one party, or two slightly different parties, running things is a relatively minor point.

Re:Nothing to predict (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#44305289)

People keep posting views like that, that the elections change very little, and I think that is nonsense. The two parties do in fact have meaningful differences between them in terms of policy and goals. There are some areas of common agreement though. Both parties uphold the American system of a Democratic Republic, an economy based on free enterprise, and so on. Neither party wants to be the one that lets large numbers of Americans be killed through negligence or inaction against al Qaida. That accounts for much of President Obama's actions in the war against al Qaida. And due to the American form of government, making substantial changes to the laws often requires substantial agreement or overwhelming majorities. But it is nonsense to claim that the parties are the same. There is little doubt that the Bush administration would have defended DOMA before the courts instead of forcing the House to do it. That might have made a difference before the courts. The Bush administration wouldn't have passed the misnamed "Affordable Care Act," also known as Obamacare. The mounting tide of government regulation that is likely to cripple some industries certainly belongs to the Democrats. The very troubling changes in the handling of accusations of rape coming from the Department of Education is also owned by the Democrats. This could go on, and on, and on. If someone thinks there is no difference, they aren't really looking, aren't paying attention, or have unrealistic expectations.

Re:Nothing to predict (2)

quenda (644621) | about 9 months ago | (#44305541)

That accounts for much of President Obama's actions in the war against al Qaida.

What war against al Qaida? You mean that big recruitment drive for them in Iraq, where Al Qaida did not even exist before the US invasion?
You mean the lost war against the Taliban, US allies against Russia, who were no threat against the US, and held no grudge until being invaded?

8000 American troops dead, >600,000 Iraqi excess deaths, and worldwide loss of respect. Beats "negligence or inaction" eh?

Re:Nothing to predict (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 9 months ago | (#44305143)

The government still changes by means of election...

That remains to be seen, considering the present system still receives a confidence vote of 98%. I will be very interested to see what happens if the D/R ruling party (in power for 150 years now, not too shabby) is ever voted out of office.

Re:Nothing to predict (4, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 9 months ago | (#44305001)

They don't seem to be terribly afraid of your pea-shooters, either... letting people have guns is apparently less of a threat to power than losing votes due to further restricting them.

Why would they be afraid of guns, when their side has drones, tanks, ICBMs, sonic weapons (these have already been deployed against peaceful protests), smart bombs, a state-of-the-art spying network, sophisticated propaganda systems, etc?

Besides, if you really wanted to hurt the people that control this country, you'd:
A. Organize massive labor strikes. I'm talking "Nobody is working in California this week" kind of massive.
B. Stop shopping as much as possible.
The reason is that the money they use to control everything has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is from the pockets of the rest of us.

Re:Nothing to predict (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304359)

The Road Ahead by Bill Gates.

Though that wasn't so much a prediction of a surveillance state as a plan for his cronies to use his company to spy their "users" and to distribute astroturf and propaganda for business and government.

Re:Nothing to predict (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304641)

The second amendment has been irrelevant for its intended purpose since at least the civil war. Was it ever allowed that citizens have cannon and Gatling guns?

The 2nd Amendment is quite clearly intended as a deterrent to an oppressive state, but since that has never realistically been true in the US since maybe the Whiskey Rebellion, or the American Revolution itself... I am all for banning personal firearms.

What is the point of me having a .30 carbine when the state will come after me with 25mm auto-cannon?

The only outlet for the US citizen is the horrible, tedious, self-effacing and demoralizing march through protest then the oppressive process of the courts. And it's been that way for more than a century. And if you can win that... you are way more of a goddamn hero than someone who went out with guns ablazin'.

So all you gun nuts... admit it, you are really just closeted.... whatever it is you fantasize about.

Re:Nothing to predict (4, Insightful)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 9 months ago | (#44304965)

Small arms keeping everyone armed is still a good fighting force even without drones and missiles. While the second amendment only applies to personal weapons and not artillery or ordinance the US govt is unlikely to launch cruise missiles into its own infrastructure to put down rebellion. In a true civil war the military itself will divide and both sides will have access to military hardware.

Re:Nothing to predict (4, Insightful)

xstonedogx (814876) | about 9 months ago | (#44305079)

I think you greatly underestimate how difficult it is to wage war on your own populace. Imagine Iraq, but with everyone armed, your own troops defecting, and every person you kill potentially related in some way to people who are on your side. Oh, and any infrastructure you destroy is your own.

Re:Nothing to predict (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 9 months ago | (#44305259)

Again, the reasoning behind the 2nd amendment here in the US.

You do understand that the same Constitution that gives you "2nd amendment rights" makes the overthrow of the government, treason, a capital crime, right? In fact, that part was ratified before the 2nd amendment.

Sounds like you pick and choose just the parts of the Constitution that sound good to you.

Little Brother and Homeland both by Cory Doctorow

Interesting choices. You realize that both of those books demonstrate just how futile any "2nd amendment" solution would be in trying to effect any change in government, right? None of the activities of the characters in that book that had the least bit of positive effect involved firearms or the 2nd amendment. You really think the founders put the 2nd amendment in place to authorize your overthrow of the government? Ever read the ratification debates?

fear is a good motivator

You believe the most powerful military in the history of the world is afraid of your little Bushmaster? Especially considering how you're statistically more likely to shoot yourself or a family member than anyone else with that gun, I doubt it. How'd that 2nd amendment work out for Randy Weaver?

Re:Nothing to predict (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44305345)

You believe the most powerful military in the history of the world is afraid of your little Bushmaster?

It is. Because it, naturally, understands weapons and armed conflict. You don't, which is why you made that ignorant statement.

Re:Nothing to predict (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 9 months ago | (#44304025)

All technology is used by those who are in power, or want power.

Since you're posting this on the internet, which are you?

Re:Nothing to predict (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about 9 months ago | (#44304153)

The only real assurance is not a vague definition of "good people in power". There is no such thing. The only solution that does not end in a police state is demanding transparency and constant inspection of their actions.

Re:Nothing to predict (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 9 months ago | (#44304443)

Ah, but there's the myth...there are no good people, at the end of the day. There might be one person who is not particularly offensive, but the sad reality is that if you place them all in a room to come up with some laws or policies to govern something important, by the end of their terms many would not be unhappy to see them go.

Good and evil then become paltry evaluations for whether your own values jive with someone else's values, or conflict with them.

Re:Nothing to predict (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 9 months ago | (#44304463)

Too many studies have already shown what happens to 'good people' when they acquire power. The only solution is to eliminate the power, which is probably physically impossible, but finding ways of disabling the weaponry would be a good start. So, all that's left is to make the best of it, eh? What good is spending your whole life looking over your shoulder?

Re:Nothing to predict (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#44304729)

I don't think we can use rules, laws and regulations to keep them in line. They need to be good people.

See, you simply have to assume that, sooner or later, someone who isn't 'good people' will get in -- or some misguided idiot who thinks that the ends justify the means.

If you don't assume things will go wrong, and actively build ion checks and balances (and consequences) ... it will turn on you.

People demonstrate time and time again, that if it can be abused, it will be.

"Trust, but verify" is a damned fine motto when talking about this kind of thing. And I'd go so far to say that trust should be limited and adversarial.

Re:Nothing to predict (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304969)

Exacrtly! They need to be wise and experienced people.

Re:Nothing to predict (1)

CaptainLard (1902452) | about 9 months ago | (#44304975)

Speaking of people in power...I think a good story would be if everyone spontaneously developed the capability to read minds. Not only would society completely change from what we know, there wouldn't be a recourse for the people behind the curtain. I guess the story would follow some family or something where the dad is a gov worker trying to keep the family together when everyone knows each others thoughts. Meanwhile he stumbles upon a plan to build a mind reader blocker for the corporate overlord. At the last minute he destroys the device in some contrived sequence allowing humanity to continue on a level playing field for better or worse.

Re:Nothing to predict (1)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#44305367)

I don't think we can use rules, laws and regulations to keep them in line. They need to be good people.

Then you've failed. This Machiavelli quote summarizes my opinion of that:

Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it.

They also predicted how to beat it, too. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304005)

See "Friday" - Heinlein.

Which is coming to pass considering the errors.

by the way, I'm Osam Bin Laden and I approve of this message. I'm also having an orgy with Senetor McCain, Palin. all the Clinton women, Bill and Bernanke - sorry, when I hear "quantitative easing" - I get hard.

Obama won't do anal unless he's giving it. - just say'in.

Bush at least did a reach around.

Re:They also predicted how to beat it, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304101)

I'm also having an orgy with...

Friday definitely covered that too!

Not 1984 (4, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | about 9 months ago | (#44304063)

The book you want is Huxley's Brave New World. Instead of overlords controlling people through power and domination, people allow themselves to be controlled in exchange for the pleasantries of modern life - sex, entertainment, and other trivialities. As long as they get as much of those as they want, they don't give a damn what else is going on in society or who is controlling it. As the saying goes, you attract more flies with honey...

Considering the stupidity of the electorate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304151)

The electorate is stupid. They are easily manipulated. Just scream "Abortion!" or "Gun violence" or "Taxes" and you are on your way to political riches.

The computer is your friend... (2)

rsborg (111459) | about 9 months ago | (#44304225)

The book you want is Huxley's Brave New World. Instead of overlords controlling people through power and domination, people allow themselves to be controlled in exchange for the pleasantries of modern life - sex, entertainment, and other trivialities. As long as they get as much of those as they want, they don't give a damn what else is going on in society or who is controlling it. As the saying goes, you attract more flies with honey...

Another good take is the role-playing game Paranoia - which made the surveillance state amusing (and insane) [1]. In addition to big brother, brave new world-ish mandatory uppers and downers combined with a Kafka-like maze of rules that can never all be respected - you are forced to betray, backstab, lie and cheat faster/better than the other players.

This, along with games like Diplomacy [2], should be mandatory for all 10y+ kids so they can become accustomed to shit that others will pull on them with more real-world painful consequences.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoia_(role-playing_game) [wikipedia.org]
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomacy_(game) [wikipedia.org]

MUTANT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304727)

Computer: I hereby report rsborg as a mutant. The evidence is the use of footnotes and subversive words such as amusing [1]

[1] Clone 2: I hereby report AC clone 1 as a subversive for using the word "amusing"

Re:Not 1984 (4, Interesting)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 9 months ago | (#44304457)

The book you want is Huxley's Brave New World. Instead of overlords controlling people through power and domination, people allow themselves to be controlled in exchange for the pleasantries of modern life - sex, entertainment, and other trivialities. As long as they get as much of those as they want, they don't give a damn what else is going on in society or who is controlling it. As the saying goes, you attract more flies with honey...

There was much more to it than that. The Savage (whose name escapes me) rejected all those supposedly pleasant things while the citizens, having been conditioned since before they were born, accepted them. Take the epsilons, for example: they weren't afforded much at all in the way of luxury, yet still served the state and might have fought to preserve the status quo if their development hadn't been retarded to the point where they couldn't even grasp the concept.

When people talk about Ninteen Eighty-Four, they often focus on the telescreen, to the exclusion of the mass surveillance of citizens by their peers. Similarly, with Brave New World the state essentially breeding people to be satisfied with what little they have takes second place to soma and free love that is (perversely) mandatory.

There was a pause; then the voice began again.
"Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm really awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able "

The Director pushed back the switch. The voice was silent. Only its thin ghost continued to mutter from beneath the eighty pillows. "They'll have that repeated forty or fifty times more before they wake; then again on Thursday, and again on Saturday. A hundred and twenty times three times a week for thirty months. After which they go on to a more advanced lesson." ... "Till at last the child's mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child's mind. And not the child's mind only. The adult's mind too—all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides—made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions!

As for 1984, literary analysis was never my strong suit, but if asked I'd say that Orwell was afraid that an oppressive state would turn men against their fellows; I can only imagine what he would say about a world where people surrender their privacy willingly.

Re:Not 1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304817)

The book does a fair job of proving that in this world we left a very improtant word out of the constitution, that word being "unamimous". That one word rewrote history extenively and was a boon to science as ell. Been more then 40 years since I read it and unfortunately seen Benjamin Franklin proven right too many times in too many ways.

Re:Not 1984 (2)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 9 months ago | (#44304857)

You're half way there: Orwell and Huxley were both right.

Most of us will gladly sell our privacy for trivialities and convenience, but there exist forces of evil in power as well. Our current surveillance state can only exist because both of these things are true.

A little off beat, but... (5, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#44304133)

I always thought Star Trek had a little bit of surveillance society in it, because the computer was always listening for you to say "Computer" and give it a command. Mind you, the Enterprise *was* as close to a military ship as the ST society had in the original series, so I guess it might be understandable.

Re:A little off beat, but... (4, Interesting)

safetyinnumbers (1770570) | about 9 months ago | (#44304401)

And it would give someone's location whenever asked.

Re:A little off beat, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304823)

I always thought Star Trek had a little bit of surveillance society in it, because the computer was always listening for you to say "Computer" and give it a command. Mind you, the Enterprise *was* as close to a military ship as the ST society had in the original series, so I guess it might be understandable.

And it would give someone's location whenever asked.

Yes, but all the leaders were benevolent so it didn't matter.

Re:A little off beat, but... (2)

user32.ExitWindowsEx (250475) | about 9 months ago | (#44305043)

Oh, Star Trek does predict humanity's future...but it won't be the Federation.

We are the NSA. Your biological and technological metadata will be added to our index. Your computers will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

Blind Faith - Ben Elton (3, Informative)

Macgrrl (762836) | about 9 months ago | (#44304195)

Ben Elton is perhaps better known in Commonwealth countries as a TV comedian, but he writes a fine line of satire which frequently swerves into the SciFi realm and is almost always a form of social commentary.

Blind Faith is an interesting posit on where the current obsession with social media, coupled with government surveillance and the slide away from science to religion could do to a slightly futuristic society.

Well worth a read, and if you enjoy that, you may enjoy some of his older works, such as Stark, This Other Eden, or some of his more recent stuff (there's dozens).

Re:Blind Faith - Ben Elton (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 9 months ago | (#44305517)

Blind Faith is an interesting posit on where the current obsession with social media, coupled with government surveillance and the slide away from science to religion could do to a slightly futuristic society.

"had to cry today..."

The imporant qualifier (3, Interesting)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#44304219)

What makes the fictional dystopias featuring surveillance states interesting isn't simply the fact that they conduct surveillance, but rather what they do with the information. In the fictional dystopias is it to engage in various sorts of general repression against the population, sometimes subtly, sometimes in a heavy handed and cruel fashion. How many of them involve actions by the state to genuinely protect the citizenry except in an Orwellian fashion? Moving from fiction to history and current events reveals that the difference between free societies using surveillance to protect themselves is in marked contrast to unfree societies. Nobody went to prison for 10 years at hard labor for simply calling George Bush, "Chimpy McHitler," while he was President, but plenty of people went to the Gulag for 10 years for telling a joke about Stalin, and far from all of the people sent to the Gulag survived. There may need to be refinement and more oversight over the activities of the intelligence services of Western governments, but getting it wrong will ultimately lead to harsh feedback of another sort.

Too true:(Listen for the joke at 1:40) Reagan tells Soviet jokes [youtube.com]

Re:The imporant qualifier (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 9 months ago | (#44304503)

Well, you could look at the Septunagent government in Stross' "Iron Sunrise". It was a minor feature, but that government could, when it chose, implement "sparrow-fart security" (which I took to mean that they not only noticed any sparrow falling, but even farting). Generally, however, they went in for a much lighter hand. Sometimes, as far as the protagonist was concerned, a bit too light. (And let people make decisions out of prejudice or malice rather than acting on good information.)

Stross doesn't like that series, but I don't see why he thinks that the ReMastered would inevitably win. Herman is, after all, only a low level antibody of the Escaton.

Re:The imporant qualifier (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 9 months ago | (#44304599)

Yep... old Ronnie, his entire presidency was an eight year long Dean Martin Roast. His handlers did employ pretty joke writers though.

Re:The imporant qualifier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304861)

Twoi words: Abu Ghraib.

In Russia (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44305105)

Russia's at the same state now, if you criticize Putin you end up in jail on a trumped up charge or commit suicide or end up dead abroad. Words are enough.

Barrett Brown (who made the mistake of reporting 'anonymous' leaks and upsetting a defense contractor). His charge is grade A fabricated crap.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/21/barrett-brown-persecution-anonymous
(Wikileaks and Glenn were targetted for smear campaigns.)

Wanna see a video of undercover cops trying to plant drugs on 'protestors', there's lots and lots of those, DuckDuck for them. Seems to be an easy bust.

Do people get killed for speech by America? Sure, usually by drone strike, then Fox calls them 'vile propagandists', without seeing the irony.

Aaron of course was on trumped up charges and killed himself. Guantanamo is force feeding prisoners who just want a trial. Those are genuine suicides/attempts, Putin's tend to be thrown off a building, but nobody is really sure how many.

It's comforting to believe you have surveillance without the negative effect, but you really don't. Soviet Russia was mostly just people going about their business of beer and circus.

Stainless Steel Rat called it frighteningly close (5, Informative)

thinktech (1278026) | about 9 months ago | (#44304239)

I'm disappointed that Harry Harrison's "Stainless Steel Rat" is not at the top of this list. Written in 1961, it's entire premise is about a thief that operates in a society with computer surveillance tracking everyones every move. Facial recognition, camera and car tracking, etc, etc. I've re-read this many times and it's almost frightening how close it is to reality. Even to the point of most of the populace being comfortable with the intrusion.

Re:Stainless Steel Rat called it frighteningly clo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304615)

Wait! Harry Harrison is a white non-jewish white person. He can in no way know of the struggles of the inner city black youth. You comment that Harry Harrison is relevant in today's society is therefore entirely irrelevent. The only relevancy that can be found in today's media gestalt is those put fourth by:

1) african americans who happen to live in the USA and have never been to Africa. These folks were formerly know as blacks. Before that they were known as Negros (spanish for black), and before that they were known as Niggers (Latin for black). All these terms are now known to be racist and everyone who ever used them (Even Cicero) now considered racist.
2) people identifiying themselves as Semites (who were formerly know as jews). Arabic is no longer a semitic language, and arabs are no longer a semitc peoples. It is just jews that are the semites. Anyone attempting to learn arabic, or associate with an arab is in fact an anti-semitic Nazi.
3) Latinos (formerly known as hispanic), whom do not speak Latin, and have never been to Italy.
4) Women.

From your ignorant comment; I can only conclude that you are a racist, and are not in touch with the modern world. You will be sent away to a reeducation camp shortly.

Re:Stainless Steel Rat called it frighteningly clo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304899)

Did knocking over that strawman make you feel like a big tough guy?

Re:Stainless Steel Rat called it frighteningly clo (1)

thinktech (1278026) | about 9 months ago | (#44305139)

I'm totally confused my your comment. I didn't write the novel, I just contributed my take on the topic. I'm not sure why you feel the need to make such a statement. Did someone run over your puppy?

What isn't predicted (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304249)

Stories (fiction) are notorious for worrying about being 'grounded' in some significant way. Reality, on the other hand, has a habit of turning up the most extraordinary events.

Take the NSA designed spy platform, the Xbox One. What writer would predict that millions of people would pay a fortune, of their own free will, to install a vastly inferior piece of hardware (the Sony PS4 has more than twice the gaming power than the Xbone) that in reality was designed to allow the State to have eyes and ears in their homes. What writer would predict that a society convinced their children are at greater risk from predators than at any time previously, would install an always on camera system in the children's bedroom, so NSA perverts who ALREADY boast of recording and sharing sexually-explicit phone calls made by Americans could secretly film their children.

No writer would dare to imagine the horrors inflicted by the NSA in full cooperation with Microsoft and Bill Gates, and expect readers to tolerate the story.

Now nerds should know the famous genre fiction. The one about the State testing kids, and murdering those who are too smart/curious. The one about police accosting a person out late at night taking a walk, and taking him to the loony bin when his explanation was "I like taking late night walks". Or how about the scene in "V for Vendetta" when two police thugs attempt to assault an innocent young woman, which was played out EXACTLY as shown a few months later in London, because the young woman involved dared to be out alone with a camera (the two 'special' police goons that accosted her were exonerated despite video evidence).

But the actions of the depraved psychopath Bill Gates would break the credibility of fiction. Gates has created a database system (in conjunction with Rupert "Goebbels" Murdoch and various organisations in the US with long histories of involvement in eugenics) to track and monitor every child in West controlled nations. Gates' system is currently being rolled out in schools all across the USA, with New York being the current major test-bed. Gates actually has willing teachers paid fees for spying on children and their families and entering EXTRA information gained this way into his database. What is completely amazing is that Gates has ensured the data he gathers is of special interest to would-be child-abusers, enabling the 'best' victims to be located- victims with all the 'ideal' characteristics (Gates even monitors a child's sexual development and mental maturity) cross referenced with those parts of the USA where police action against abusers is least effective.

What action have the sheeple parents carried out against Bill Gates' despicable evil? None whatsoever- I'll bet the vast majority of you sheeple here have never heard of this project. This despite the fact that Gates is one of the planet's most outspoken eugenicists, with a long history of promoting pro-war propaganda.

From the Washington Post- QUOTE
Privacy concerns are growing among parents, educators and some state officials about a Gates Foundation-funded project that is storing an unprecedented amount of personal information about millions of students in a $100 million database that cannot guarantee complete security.
END QUOTE

Ever see the owners of Slashdot promoting awareness of this project? Hahahahahahaha- yeah, right. By the way, that part about security? The database is actually designed to give access to third parties (like would-be child rapists) who pay a small fee. Can you imagine a database created to give people access to knowledge about banks and their security systems, including times of major cash movements? You would immediately say "isn't such a database simply a resource for bank-robbers" and you would be correct.

Gates can extract and store the most personnel data about YOUR kids, and you are supposed to sit back and take it, listening to the filthy shills who reassure you that "obviously no bad guy will ever exploit the system". Are you REALLY that stupid?

Any person here thinking of buying the Xbox One deserves to be thought of as the most pathetic creature on Earth. The scum forcing their spying on you is one thing. Buying the bullets they wish to shoot you with, and then handing those bullets over to your executioner of your own free will tattoos "eternally worthless" on your own forehead.

FIGHT BACK! Go to your kids school, and demand the removal of any system that has nothing to do with your kids education. No biometric ID systems. No RFID or other chip systems. No monitoring of your kids beyond an absolute minimum of data needed to make the school system work. No beating of your kids. No abusive discipline of any kind designed to break ordinary kids. No war propaganda. No hero worship of child raping politicians, simply because these child raping politicians were slave owners who thought their best slave owning interests lay in breaking away from formal British control. No crap about 'allegiance' to a flag or a god or a president.

We are Human- and the vast majority of Humans are inherently decent when given the chance. But fear and brutality can be used as tools to attack the moral integrity of all too many people. Bill Gates understands this, which is why he loves the NSA, and seeks to bring the NSA and other sickening abuses into the lives of as many ordinary people as possible. Gates is a psychopath no different from those monsters who think they have the right to grab victims, and take them to private secure locations where they can abuse and/or murder them. Gates just has a vastly greater level of ambition. For you Yanks, may I suggest you Google Jimmy Savile, Graham Ovenden or Stuart Hall. Well appointed, well protected perverts operating at the highest levels of society, who spend a life time abusing the most vulnerable in full awareness that if finally exposed, their 'punishment' will be as minimal as their establishment friends (including the top politicians in the UK) can arrange.

When you reach the top, money means nothing. Ultimate power is the power to break ALL the rules. Bill Clinton's greatest moment was inserting a cigar into the private parts of a woman when both were in the Oval Office itself. You sheeple haven't the faintest idea of how the minds of your masters work. Predictive fiction does sometimes explore this facet of abnormal Humanity, but too many readers are too scared to accept the truth of the message, for fear of tainting their sheeple acceptance of the master/slave relationship they have with those that rule over them.

Re:What isn't predicted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304363)

sheeple

This word is only ever seriously used by the type of person it purports to describe.

Re:What isn't predicted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304403)

Are you trying to fucking say that there's NO WAY a "defense contractor" could have conspired and committed the 9/11 attacks? With remote controlled airplanes and explosives?

Sounds like conspiracy theory nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304349)

Because no "defense contractor" would ever orchestrate and execute 9/11 and blame it on a bunch of muslim terrorists.

the premise is unsubstantiated (3, Interesting)

Unordained (262962) | about 9 months ago | (#44304431)

all-encompassing system of control, that proceeds from the top of the pyramid down to its base

I feel this statement unduly absolves us as a society from blame for our own surveillance state -- as if we hadn't clamored for safety, as if we hadn't spouted off about having nothing to hide, as if we hadn't secretly distrusted anyone using encryption, anonymous account, or trying to live "off the grid", as if we hadn't openly derided the boys who cried wolf about the coming panopticon. Do you think something of this magnitude is simply ordered from "the top"? We asked for this. The only thing you can complain about is that the people we elected (and those they appointed or hired) to do our bidding, in an effort to more completely obey us, didn't tell us what they were doing. It's like hiring a hitman and having him tell you it's better that you not know the details of the hit you've paid for.

I don't think this is a pyramid. This is an hourglass, or a pinched torus -- we all sit on top of the government, down to a single point of control; which then sits on top of an expanding mass of surveillance state that sits in/on/around all of us. Unless of course you buy into the idea that our elections are rigged, that it's all been run by a cabal for decades/centuries/millenia, etc.

But I think it's much simpler to accept that we did this to ourselves. It doesn't take a roomful of geniuses working secretly, it just takes a nation of average Joe's being themselves. Design by committee, of millions.

Philip K. Dick - A Scanner Darkly (4, Informative)

adminstring (608310) | about 9 months ago | (#44304509)

...is another classic that belongs on the list.

Re:Philip K. Dick - Flow my tears the policeman sa (1)

hguorbray (967940) | about 9 months ago | (#44304711)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_My_Tears,_The_Policeman_Said

also features a sort of 1% -99% societal split

The novel is set in a dystopian future United States following a Second Civil War which led to the collapse of the nation's democratic institutions. The National Guard ("nats") and US police force ("pols") reestablished social order through instituting a dictatorship, with a "Director" at the apex, and police marshals and generals as operational commanders in the field. Resistance to the regime is largely confined to university campuses, where radicalized former university students eke out a desperate existence in subterranean kibbutzim. Recreational drug use is widespread, and the age of consent has been lowered to twelve. Most commuting is undertaken by personal aircraft, allowing great distances to be covered in little time.

John Brunner's -'The sheep look up' is another excellent dystopian (though not all that surveillance-oriented) novel

-I'm just sayin'

Re:Philip K. Dick -Imposters and Minority Report (1)

hguorbray (967940) | about 9 months ago | (#44304769)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0160399/
imposters was kind of interesting, but murky

-I'm just sayin'

Personally.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304511)

I think often of the original Running Man story by Stephen King(as Richard Bachman)and wish someone would have the balls/resources to do a 100% accurate(if slightly updated for the times)interpretation, right down to the punch-in-the-face ending.

THX 1138 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304561)

George Lucas's Directorial Debut film 1971

Shockwave Rider (0)

tyme (6621) | about 9 months ago | (#44304637)

by John Brunner, predates cyberpunk by half a decade and features strong themes of government secrecy and surveillance.

Re:Shockwave Rider (1)

BluBrick (1924) | about 9 months ago | (#44304947)

by John Brunner, predates cyberpunk by half a decade and features strong themes of government secrecy and surveillance.

RTFA, newb!

Player Piano (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 9 months ago | (#44304681)

From a more economics-based standpoint(specifically, what happens when there are no real "jobs" left), I would have to say "Player Piano" by Kurt Vonnegut. Now of course there is the obviously dated references to computers with so many vacuum tubes that they fill a cave, and alas engineers ARENT the richest people on the planet but there is some great social commentary in there re: what to do when technology and society has rendered most people useless.
In the book, 99% of young men are basically given 2 options: join the army or join a meaningless public works organization....this is eerily similar to today's economy. Having spent time on a military base as a contractor, I can say that most of these guys would have been working at a factory if they had been born 50 years ago, but as most of those jobs have dried up they ended up in the Army. I know people in the US like to go all hero worship on these people, but lets face facts: For most of them, it's their only ticket to anything that even closely resembles a middle class lifestyle. They either aren't cut out for post-secondary education or cannot afford it, and since we don't have any other place for them(much like in the story), we stick them in the army...... The "reeks and wrecks" are the public works people, not quite as big in the US as they are elsewhere(for instance, Japan), but they are still there.

If you have time, definitely check it out, I've just scratched the surface of how correct Vonnegut was in predicting what happens when people stop being "useful" to society.

Re:Player Piano (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 9 months ago | (#44305375)

" I know people in the US like to go all hero worship on these people, but lets face facts: For most of them, it's their only ticket to anything that even closely resembles a middle class lifestyle."

As a former active duty military and on-base contractor, I know what you mean. I wouldn't even be that nice about it. There are heroes in the military, but there are also idiots. Some soldiers are dedicated, others are lazy wastes of space. Even one of the 'hard chargers' I served with was useless in our actual field; he just didn't do any work, yet got promoted by the system.

I save me hero worship for the ones that actually deserve it.

Neglected series from the old days (2)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about 9 months ago | (#44304739)

The Slow Glass stories, by Bob Shaw.

Re:Neglected series from the old days (1)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about 9 months ago | (#44305095)

Harry Harrison's "To The Stars" trilogy [wikipedia.org] ("Homeworld", "Wheelworld" and "Starworld") also predicted a society under constant surveillance, although it's not a major part of the story. It's sort of like the future of 1984, except one where the society seems to have been founded less on "for the evilz" (which seems to be the primary motivator of the party in Orwell's "1984") and more based on greed and power-hunger.

While the story itself is not particularly engrossing, some of the predictions on the society and surveillance methods are frighteningly close. Of course, Harrison missed the date by approximately 500 years but that date seems to be more an artifice to explain how mankind has reached other planets rather than a necessity for the technology to evolve; if anything, the world seems somewhat backwards technologically and societally given it is set 5 centuries hence. Of course, it was written back in 1981...

Why exclude 1984? (3, Informative)

pz (113803) | about 9 months ago | (#44304781)

Given that Orwell got so very much right about the future, why exclude 1984 from the list? Just to make an interesting discussion that would have been largely already well-hashed-out otherwise?

Re:Why exclude 1984? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44305277)

Because it's a list of books, other than 1984, that also predicted the surveillance state.

If you liked 1984 go read the original, We.

The reality again surprised us (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 9 months ago | (#44304879)

It is sooo funny, but actually no one sci-fi author managed to predict the level of surveillance at which we are in this moment. Even in 1984 you could actually go and hide somewhere, or even leave the country, but here and now, there is nowhere to go, on the earth, literally.

Re:The reality again surprised us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44305131)

Paradyzja by Janusz A. Zajdel. was fun
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradyzja
ubiquitous AI surveillance defeated by constant redefinition of language idioms

from newer stuff
Stross in "Glasshouse" explored a panopticon with limits of the surveillance set by processing power (You can bug everyone but You can't really listen to everyone), also see "Halting State" and "Rule 34"

The Bible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304993)

All-seeing, all-knowing God that doesn't really pay attention to what his creations are getting up to until he decides to check in and finds them doing various things that they shouldn't be doing (eating forbidden fruit, worshipping other gods, Jonah hiding out so he doesn't have to spread the word like he was specifically ordered to, etc.). It could be made into a sitcom, and that would be the basic premise of every single episode.

There are a lot of others... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44304995)

One (actually a set of three stories) is Lacey and His Friends by David Drake
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lacey_and_His_Friends

A few ideas (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 9 months ago | (#44305443)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooter_(film) [wikipedia.org] for the staged suicide.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spartan_(film) [wikipedia.org] power elite and a "boating accident"
The original UK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Cards_(UK_TV_series) [wikipedia.org]
then http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Play_the_King [wikipedia.org] for the simple pleasure of cataloging the political competitors.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edge_of_Darkness [wikipedia.org] (1985) for the display of a hardened, air gapped computer network and the need for real physical access vs the amazing ability to just 'hack' from suburbia.
The gov understanding of protest movements.
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