“What’s your e-mail address?”

George Orwell’s vision of the technological future was skeptic. This was Orwell’s vision of the future: technology would become the tool of totalitarian dictatorship. Not so long ago our typical sign-off used to be “have a nice day.” It’s fast being replaced by a new but fancier one, “What’s your e-mail address?” These days, computers don’t just process words only; it has turned the middle class Nepali home into a mini nerve center of the information age - it now links Nepalese to a global network of knowledge.

Now, distance knows no barriers and people are closer to each other. Open the internet from anywhere in Nepal, and you are everywhere- all over the world. We are just a click

away from each other. Moreover, the internet is affecting our businesses in similar ways. Every industry, given

that they have a web site, has suddenly become part of a global network where all companies are equally easy to reach.When internet came, any government’s ability to control information was destroyed for good. A government can try to restrict its citizen’s access to the information, as ex - king Gyanendra did but he failed because Nepali journalists and dissidents set up their own Web sites to tell their story both to the fellow Nepalese and outside world after the royal takeover. Government lies were exposed, and the truth spread. Communism collapsed in 1989 from most parts of the world just as the fax machine was becoming widespread and fairly inexpensive. In fact, the Internet is a melting pot of endless rumors and conspiracy theories, and more troubling, sexually explicit material and high level political propagandas can be disseminated on the Internet just as easily and widely as information about political oppression in Zimbabwe.

Most Nepalese would concede that the advantages of today’s technologies, including the Internet, outweigh the disadvantages. Our freedom has been enhanced and on the more profound political level, is there anyone who thinks the world would be a freer place if modern technologies such as computers, fax machines and the Internet didn’t exist? Now we know how wrong Orwell’s vision of the technological future was. Perhaps, ex -prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s leaked video tape illustrates a point or two to prove Orwell wrong. What’s your email address, comrade?