George Orwell's dystopian vision written in his book "Nineteen Eighty-Four" could become a reality by 2024 as artificial intelligence technology becomes the all-seeing eye, a top Microsoft executive warned Thursday.
Microsoft President Brad Smith told BBC's Panorama George Orwell's 1984 "could come to pass in 2024" if government regulation doesn't protect the public against intrusive artificial intelligence surveillance.
"I'm constantly reminded of George Orwell's lessons in his book '1984.' You know the fundamental story … was about a government who could see everything that everyone did and hear everything that everyone said all the time," Smith said on BBC while chatting about China's use of artificial intelligence to monitor its citizens.
"Well, that didn't come to pass in 1984, but if we're not careful, that could come to pass in 2024," Smith continued.
"If we don't enact the laws that will protect the public in the future, we are going to find the technology racing ahead, and it's going to be very difficult to catch up."
He warned that Orwell's view of a government spying on its citizens around the clock is already a reality in some parts of the world.
Artificial intelligence-led totalitarianism, such as in China, has wiped away the freedoms of its citizens and transformed them into obedient members of the state. A social credit score keeps citizens in check.
To prevent such a dystopia in the West, lawmakers need to act now, explained Smith.
In 2019, the billionaire investor Peter Thiel insisted that artificial intelligence was "literally communist."
He said artificial intelligence concentrates power to monitor citizens. These surveillance tools know more about a person than they know about themselves.
Artificial intelligence is a crucial tool for governments to adopt an Orwellian state of surveillance and control.
But can we trust lawmakers and "Big Tech" who want to consolidate power to prevent such a dystopia?
It's hard to say, considering politicians have only one objective: stay in power.
Suppose we can't trust politicians to protect our freedoms and interests; instead, they side with mega-corporations. In that case, we must raise our understanding of privacy shields that protect us from artificial intelligence spying on us.