Is the future of the world a Black Mirror Episode?
By Olamide Oseni / Image Credit: Google Images
If you are yet to see a single episode of the TV series Black Mirror, you are in for a treat. Re-shuffle your priorities this weekend and make sure to see one of the best shows on Netflix.
Black Mirror is a mind-fest for anyone concerned with the impact technology is having and will continue to have in future. The episodes are anthological, so each episode is a story of itself, you can watch them in any order.
Every episode portrays an alternate dystopian view of the future. Its surprising twists often place the audience on the side of the villain. Let’s explore the themes present in Black Mirror and draw interesting parallels between real-world events and four Black Mirror episodes.
- The very first black mirror episode “The National Anthem” revolves around a dilemma when the British Prime Minister is forced to have sex with a pig on national TV to secure the release of the country’s abducted princess. As it would happen, in 2016 a couple of anecdotes surfaced about how the then British Prime Minister David Cameron placed his genitalia in the mouth of a dead pig during a college initiation rite and yes that is not only gross but creepy too, but I mean c’ mon, what are the odds?
- Chinese Rating System: In the black mirror episode, “Nose Dive” the world features a system where people rate each other according to their interactions, the same way you’d rate your Uber driver, however in this episode, the ratings you are given affect your access to public goods and infrastructure, so the lower ratings you have, the harder it is for you to access life’s basic needs, In 2018 China announced plans to launch a rating system eerily similar to the one featured in this Black Mirror episode with the same mode of operation by 2020
- Conversing with the dead: Another Black Mirror episode features a grieving widow distressed by the death of her husband, who then goes on to create an android version of her husband by gathering his online data and starts having conversations with him the same way you’d do with a regular human, and newsflash, turns out that something similar to this has already been done by a Russian software engineer who goes by the name of Eugenia Kuyda.
- The Waldo Episode: In this episode, a brash outrageous and flat out rude and famous cartoon character is elected as the president of a country. Does this sound familiar? In 2016, Donald Trump, a reality star and business mogul of similar mannerisms stunned the world when he won the election as President of The United States.
These are just a few of the numerous parallels I found between Black Mirror and the real world and it poses an interesting question:
Does the world mirror Black Mirror (pun intended) or is Black Mirror an accurate prediction of what our future could look like. Given how technology is progressing, in 20 or 30 years from now, we could be living in a world similar to any black mirror episode.
Black Mirror poses an even more interesting question and that is, “can we be trusted to properly handle the technology to come?”
Technology in of itself is a tool; we are the ones who decide how we use it. If presently, social media is the leading cause of depression and cyberbullying and catfishing is normal, how are we going to handle the technology to come?
I think the beauty of Black Mirror, is that it forces us to think, properly ponder and have meaningful conversations about the coming age of technology and that’s a good start.
On a closing note, if you are yet to see Black mirror, do so and thank me later.