Note: spoilers for the following ‘Black Mirror’ episodes: Nosedive, Hated In The Nation, Fifteen Million Merits, Be Right Back, The Waldo Moment
‘Black Mirror‘ is a British television series on Netflix that is written and created by English satirist, Charlie Brooker. Episodes of the Sci-Fi series have an overarching theme of paranoia about the developments in technology. The series has been previously deemed to explore ‘techno-paranoia’, and in 2017 with new technology on the rise constantly, ‘Black Mirror’ is particularly haunting. As it seems as though there is evidence that the series has predicted these chilling effects of technology, since it began airing in 2011. Now, certain technologies hinted at by Brooker in some of the episodes that he has created are coming to life. In truth, some of the technologies presented in the episodes already exist, the show therefore, appears all the more probable.
Episode to Reality 1: Nosedive
The most recent prediction to have come true in some ways relates to the episode ‘Nosedive’ from ‘Black Mirror’. In the episode, Brooker has written about a world where each individual is rated on a kind of social media app. There comes to a time in the episode where one of the characters have such a low rating that they struggle to board a plane, or hire a car. In essence, the lower the rating a person has in this episode, the more isolated they become in their career, and as a person. There has been a new app created by Skedaddle named ‘Kudos’. ‘Kudos’ is an app that has a system where there is ratings between 1 to 5. It can be used by businesses to create customized reward systems. The CEO of the app, Adam Nestler explained that Skedaddle has made the app “due to the concentration of wealth among platform creators and makers, employees are not rewarded equitably and are making ends meat off of unfair tips.” from this explanation, the app appears to be less haunting and seemingly attempts to be a more fair system.
Yet, ‘Kudos’ is very similar to the app in the episode ‘Nosedive’ in terms of it’s rating systems of people firsthand upon the service given by employees to customers. At once, an episode from ‘Black Mirror’ becomes real. According to Slash Gear, with the system of ‘Kudos’ implemented an employee will recieve stars in an app as opposed to cash as a reward.
You may learn more about Kudos here.
Episode to Reality 2: Hated In The Nation
Another piece of technology that was predicted by ‘Black Mirror’ is the mechanical bee. In the episode ‘Hated In The Nation’, the British government approve the use of mechanical bees for pollination as dead bees could not do so. In a sense, this concept in this episode subsequently shed light upon the disasters of collapsing bee colonies and the rise of death among bees. These technological mechanical bees in the episode ended up getting hacked. Mysterious deaths began to arise as a result of this, the hashtag on social media ‘#DeathTo’ was somehow connected to the bees, instructing them to kill the person named alongside the hashtag.
Not so long ago, according to CNN an industrial design major Anna Haldewang developed an idea named ‘Plan Bee’ when researching these disasters of collapsing bee colonies. Thus, she developed a prototype that fulfilled the role and essence of the bee in the same way that the mechanical bees in ‘Hated In The Nation’ did until they were hacked and killed people. Though, not to panic too much (for now at least). Jenny Hollander for Bustle considered that the prototype has several differences to the mechanical bees in ‘Black Mirror’. For example, Hollander reported that the ‘Plan Bee’ bees are the size of a human hand as opposed to the tiny bees in the ‘Black Mirror’ episode that killed by crawling into the victims ear…
Episode to Reality 3: Fifteen Million Merits
In ‘Fifteen Million Merits’ there is a world where the majority of society have to cycle on exercise bikes so that they can power their surroundings and as a result earn a type of currency. According to Inverse , scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found out a way to harvest energy from the movements of humans in order to ensure our devices are charged up. This almost replicates the dystopian nightmare wherein there is a world powered by humans. Chilling.
You may learn more about the piece of equipment here.
Episode to Reality 4: Be Right Back
‘Be Right Back’ is about a woman who is mourning her partner who had passed. The woman finds an online service that can duplicate her partner by using his past social media accounts. From phone calls and messaging, the partner of the woman in mourning is soon to become an android so that she can interact with him in person.
This has happened already. For example, Bina48 is a social robot created by using video interview transcripts, laser scanning life mask technology, face recognition, artificial intelligence and voice recognition technologies according to LifeNaut. In essence, Bina48, alike to the partner of the main character in mourning in ‘Be Right Back’, can interact based upon information already existing on a person.
Bina48 was created based upon the information contributed by Bina Rothblatt. You can even watch a video on the pair meeting one another here.
Episode to Reality 5: The Waldo Moment
The very new iPhone X ‘Animoji’ feature that uses facial recognition to connect to emojis that pick up users of the iPhone X facial expressions is very similar to how the blue bear, Waldo, is created in ‘The Waldo Moment’. For example, in ‘The Waldo Moment’, a comedian brings an animated blue bear to life via facial recognition. Waldo soon becomes popular with the public and as a political figure.
The ‘Black Mirror’ Twitter account tweeted a gif of the video introducing the new iPhone X feature with Waldo edited into the mix of emojis.
Series 4 of ‘Black Mirror’ is due soon though the release date is yet to be revealed. However, there is a short trailer existing hinting at the titles of the new episodes. The dark, omniscient and invasive side of technology is amplified by this show. There is no doubt that more episodes from ‘Black Mirror’ will merge with reality soon enough.