It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.
It’s 2017, and the world is divided up into zones.
EMEA, APAC, N America and Latin America.
Winston lives in a London flat, room 101 and has a dull, black & white life.
In his home, he has a large plasma screen on the wall.
He owns all the tech you need to survive.
Cookies are his staple diet.
Facebook is his thing but he dabbles in Twitter and Instagram.
He doesn’t have a partner, although tonight he is going on a date with Julia.
All set up by an online dating site.
She knows everything about him.
His life is open to everyone. And he can’t delete it. In fact, his information will live on for a long time after he himself is deleted.
He receives a message from Julia. CU@8.
Text speak, the new language.
There has been an election. That should help with the conversation.
But what party line does she follow and will it marry with his own views?
Must be careful is a note to himself.
An email arrives with coupon. 2 main courses for the price of one at Pizza Palace.
OMG, Winston muses. They know he’s going out for the night and where.
The walk to the restaurant is quick as he races through the cold air.
On every corner is a CCTV camera.
He notices cameras on the zebra crossing and as he looks left and right bright yellow boxes stand alongside the road with a smile please you’re doing more than 30mph feel to them.
He arrives at the pizza house early. So, does Julia.
The conversation is surprisingly good, until.
“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Winston, happy birthday to you.”
They have his details on record and the fake birthday date he entered on a prize draw competition from when he last visited, all in the hope of winning a free bottle of Prosecco.
The evening manages to overcome the redness of Winston’s face.
He realises he’s forgotten to stop at the cashpoint. That doesn’t matter, he’ll pay with his phone.
Julia insists on going Dutch and shoves £25 into his pocket.
They exchange phone numbers.
A polite farewell and 10 minutes later he’s home.
We hope you enjoyed your meal and would be grateful if you could complete our quick survey.
Free bottle of Prosecco on your next visit, book now.
Enjoyed tonight, give me a call. Julia x.
Whether you ‘Like it’ or not this is the world we live in.
Our willingness to divulge personal information to one another and to the world of business has given companies the opinion, rightly or wrongly, that they have the right to contact you with offers, news, guides or whatever else they want.
There’s nowhere to hide. Technology tracks your buying practices at every purchase. Data bases carry lists of nearly everyone on the planet. Your name sits there patiently until you yourself bring it to life by tapping or clicking on some site.
You can unsubscribe, but why?
Companies try to reach you because they know you’ve already shown an interest in them. It’s no different from being in a car showroom looking at the new beast of a Gti when a salesman approaches and mentions that for today only there’s £500 cash back a full tank of petrol and a free first service.
If someone wants your business and you’re already interested in theirs, it’s you the consumer who is going to hold all the cards.
So, why not sit back and watch brands go to war while they try to get your attention and money.
I don’t see the problem. I mean, it’s not Big Brother who is watching you, it’s big business. And when you weigh-up the pros and cons, technology isn’t such a bad thing, is it?
Hi Winston, your book ‘1984’ has been dispatched and should arrive in 2 days.
Thank you for your purchase.