Black Mirror: The horrors and charms of future technology

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Black Mirror: The horrors and charms of future technology

Raquel Guevarra, Reporter

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What do you picture our future to be like? Flying Cars? Holograms? Black Mirror gives you a taste of our possible reality, a nightmarescape of a future gone technologically awry.

Black Mirror – named for the way our screens look while powered down – is a British television show and a contemporary retelling of the beloved show The Twilight Zone. Directed by Charlie Brooker, it premiered in 2011 in the United Kingdom and, over the past few years, been popularized in America with a stream of episodes on Netflix. It is an anthology series, currently on its fourth season, with a total of eighteen one-hour episodes plus a Christmas special. Each episode features a brand new cast and story.

A stand-out episode  that captures how technology fails humans in the future is “Be Right Back.” Featuring Domhnall Gleeson and Haley Atwell, this tearjerker demonstrates how technology can never satisfy us and how the pain of lost love will always ache. Brooker tackles death itself for his most heartfelt story, setting up a future where a widow can take her late husband’s personality, composed from social-media accounts, and have it uploaded into a synthetic “body.” Similar to how people date other people to replace lost love (often resulting in disappointment), his clone lacks what he most loved about her. With its major appeal to pathos, “Be Right Back” offers wisdom about the hazy intersection between human innovation and the elemental forces of life itself.

On the other side of the spectrum, “Nosedive” takes a satirical approach to the obsession of approval on social media. Talented Bryce Dallas Howard takes on the role of a young woman, living in a world where a rating system on social media determines one’s social status and wealth. Determined to live up her position on the social ladder, Howard’s character goes to great lengths to get people to like her and give her high ratings to satisfy her incessant desire to become elite. This episode embodies a recurring theme in the series –  the insidious ways in which technology alters human behavior.

Perhaps the scariest part of the show’s concept is that it may be a future we will soon inhabit. At the rate technology is developing, it isn’t hard to believe that one day, clones may exist, social media might take over our lives, a device that records all memories with a readily available playback option may be invented, or even a device that controls your child’s actions could be conceived. However, the show does a good job of identifying the true culprit behind our woes: humans themselves. It is our sadness that consumes us, our obsession to be liked, our longing for a happier past, and our overprotectiveness that leads us to find solace in such innovation. Our problems will always remain human and technology will just be a neutral facilitator.

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