Brave New Player Piano in 1984


Aldous Huxley's 'A Brave New World' does a great job forecasting our voluntary servitude, while George Orwell's '1984' does a great job forecasting our mass-surveillance. Then Kurt Vonnegut's 'Player Piano' nails our Automation Revolution and even hinted at our impending/near-current AI revolution. 'A Brave New World' predicted a future that preferred human labor, and purposely bred people to be simple and comfortable working menial jobs, while allowed more mental growth for higher level jobs. It discussed the dangers of too much machine/automation, as it would give too much free-time, which allows for reflection and leads to unhappiness. A Brave New World also aimed to completely do away with privacy, and solitude. Which honestly, is relevant. But it didn't forsee the internet/social media and those technological advancements which allow people to be social, without being around others. 'Player Piano' feel the most relevant and closet to our current future as it predicted the marriage of Machine and Managers. Rather than being a full Utopian/Dystopian society that sends non-conformers away to islands (like in A Brave New World), there is a river/towns separating the different classes. People are allowed to be unhappy in Player Piano and instead they reflect on the necessity of their society and understanding it..rather than everyone being happy and not questioning things. It also stuck to alcohol and didn't introduce Soma. The government still controlled art and information. Anyways, I will touch up on 1984 and update this to finalize the full comparison, but I just wanted to start this thread now while 'A Brave New World' and 'Player Piano' were fresh. But as it currently stands I would argue we are living more in the world of 'Player Piano' then any of the others. Although there are hints of each and other things not included, such as 'V for Vendetta.' No joke, there's a "Make Britain Great Again" slogan in V for Vendetta and there of course is the control of the TV/MEDIA with the propaganda broadcaster who had heavy ties to the powers in charge. However, what 'A Brave New World' does nail down the best, in regards to America, land of the democracy and freedom, is that we are voluntarily under a Totalitarian rule.

"A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executives of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.

'the problem of happiness' - in other words, the problem of making people love their servitude. Without economic security, the love of servitude cannot possibly come into existence." - Aldous Huxley (afterwords from A Brave New World). Our version of Soma is a mixture of narcissism and technology. Social Media, toys and gadgets etc. We are in love with our wiretaps, our monitoring and tracking devices, they are an extension of ourselves and we take pride in using them. We voluntarily submit our information everywhere online and constantly love to let people know where we are, what we are doing, what we are eating/drinking, how much time we spend in front of a screen, etc. etc. But... Automation is here. AI is closer than ever. More and more jobs are being removed, but also new ones are blossoming too. But there can only be so many managers right? So there will be those who manage, and those who maintain and those who can do both. There also will be some time of people stuck in the old ways, people drawn to the older ways, and of course jobs that are harder to automate. It's also beneficial that we have a reemergence of people loving custom/hand-crafted work. And by hand, I am referring more to human made, not done by a robot. Tools are still used of course, but it's not automatically built. Anyways, the future is here. Feel free to read those books.

 © 2019 DontFeedTheWolf

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An ever-growing collection of stories, in the harmonious echo of darkness

Special thanks: Michael Yakutis (Background)