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Jul 19, 2019

George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" (1984) is a touchstone of 20th-century English literature and a key piece of modern political thought and speculative fiction that continues to provoke conversation, and comparison, today. Orwell's novel from 1949 describes a bleak future where the state (Big Brother) has weaponized technology, language, propaganda and memory to exert near-total control over every person.

Jaret Hargreaves joins Ben in Calgary to discuss this classic and frighteningly prescient book.

About the Book

"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controlsthe past."

Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal. George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four is perhaps the most pervasively influential book of the twentieth century.

About the Guest

Jaret Hargreaves is a Product Management professional with more than ten years experience bringing products to market at health tech startups.

Spending more time in school than his parents could reasonably have foreseen, Jaret studied Biochemistry and Computer Science, splitting time between the Universities of Calgary and British Columbia. He studied medical imaging while completing an MSc in Biomedical Engineering at the Foothills Medical Centre, where his thesis investigated image processing to aid neurologists in stroke diagnosis.

With the slowly dawning realization that he would never be a truly exceptional programmer, Jaret decided to pursue an alternate career in health tech, where he could utilize his ability to speak both rudimentary “doctor” and “developer”. He spent 7 years at Calgary Scientific (now PureWeb) managing a series of medical image viewing products including ResolutionMD Mobile, the first FDA-cleared diagnostic viewer for Apple and Android mobile devices.

Next, Jaret lead development of Brightsquid’s Secure-Mail, which provided secure communication between doctors and dentists, including with their colleagues and patients. Jaret currently serves as Director of Product Management at two health tech companies. At the Calgary-based medical imaging startup Kent Imaging, he leads development of SnapshotNIR, a near-infrared camera for assessing tissue health. He also manages partner opportunities for the eponymous Auxita platform for the company out of Brisbane, Australia.

In his spare time, Jaret has volunteered for organizations including the Alberta Children’s Hospital, the Calgary Youth Science Fair, and local political campaigns, where he is motivated by the potential of exceptional candidates. He served as the Data Lead for the successful 2015 campaign for Calgary Centre MP Kent Hehr.

If you’re looking to engage him in an animated discussion, any of the following topics are a safe bet: near-future dystopian fiction (any format), Star Trek (not-so-near-future utopia), amateur home barista-ry, returning to hockey as an adult, disc golf, 3D printing, and the collected works of Joss Whedon.

Check out Jaret on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter (@jaretis).

Mentioned in this Episode

The Quote of the Week

"The best books...are those that tell you what you know already."

- From 1984 by George Orwell