What We Have Covered in This Article
- 1 Shut Up and Dance – Webcam Hacking
- 2 Nosedive – Social Credit System
- 3 Be Right Back – AI Chatbots
- 4 Arkangel – Extreme Parental Monitoring
- 5 Men Against Fire – Augmented Reality
- 6 MetalHead – Robotic Dog
- 7 Hated In the Nation – Robotic Surveillance
Last Updated on September 7, 2021 by Editor Futurescope
Netflix’s Black Mirror was unquestionably captivating, enthralling, and to a large extent, unsettling. And aside from the pure brilliance of filmmaking, this series stands out because the episodes were set on a stage not too far from reality.
The current digital world we live in could easily be passed as one in Black Mirror if you add some leaps in technology. In fact, many such innovations are already in work, and we are moving closer to a reality dictated by technology.
The tech in Black Mirror is already coming alive, and this is only the beginning.
Shut Up and Dance – Webcam Hacking
The story portrayed in Shut Up and Dance is happening in many ways already. In fact, everybody using a digital device is always under the threat of losing their personal data – even if you are utmost careful.
We are using the internet much more than we even think about. For students, classes can be held online, without ever meeting their professors in person. This is just the new reality: electronic books, tablets instead of notepads, and no pens whatsoever. This is not always a bad thing, though. Just think about how many stacks of paper can be saved with just one tablet or laptop. So, tearing your notebooks apart when you don’t like what you’ve written is a scene of the past. Now, you can just erase the page.
Whether you are simply searching the internet for references for new essays, looking up a cheap paper writing service like WritePaper, or searching for the least entertainment – it would be best to shut off your webcam. Or better, have a sticker over it.
If Shut Up and Dance teaches us anything, it is that the technology we currently use is susceptible to hacking and exposes us to imminent risks. There is nothing better than starting this article with a note on how powerful technology can be and that there is nothing far-fetched in the digital world.
Nosedive – Social Credit System
Nosedive is a Black Mirror episode that is considered widely popular. The technology portrayed resembles too close to the current standing of social networks, where we don’t get likes but ratings. And everyone around you will give you one. The crucial detail here is that these ratings determine your social status, your likability, and even your credit score.
And as you can easily imagine, this tech hits close to home. Our usage and reliance on social media have exponentially increased since the release of this episode in 2016. The potential impact is widespread, and we already see such personal rating systems across apps such as Uber, Yelp, and more.
The Chinese government has also developed such a personal credit system that generates a score of each citizen based on their behavior. All things considered, this points to the fact that the Nosedive reality is too close to happening.
Be Right Back – AI Chatbots
In the episode, Be Right Back, we saw the lead character cope with the loss of her loved one by turning to technology. It could be called a ‘digital resurrection,’ where the tech used AI to scour through the person’s online presence and personal data to build a replica that looks and sounds the same.
As recently as in January 2021, Microsoft filed for the patent of its latest AI chatbot – that resembles this particular tech. According to several reports, this chatbot or ‘specific person’ may correspond to a past or present entity. This could be a friend, relative, celebrity, or historical figure, or anyone you can name.
You can clearly see why such technology would remind you of this particular episode. Although Microsoft says that this chatbot is not being built, the patent reveals that it could be – sooner than we expected.
Arkangel – Extreme Parental Monitoring
Almost every device today comes with some level of parental control. In Black Mirror’s version, a young mother takes this to the extreme by embedding an Arkangel device into her daughter’s head. Now, this is slightly different from the typical versions.
This particular device not only allows the mother, Marie, to track her daughter’s location but also to monitor her health and emotional state. And not so surprisingly, she can also censor what her child should see and shouldn’t.
This leads to more issues, both expected and unexpected. Eventually, Marie realizes that this was not helping her child and decides to turn it off – as it can’t be removed. This makes you wonder whether the current parental monitoring devices are actually beneficial in the long run and whether the data it collects will remain available for tracking.
Men Against Fire – Augmented Reality
In Men Against Fire, soldiers are implanted with a device called MASS – which alters their senses. In other words, it portrays enemy soldiers as humanoids called roaches so that they can be killed without any hesitation.
This particular technology is not a distant reality as it might seem. Military desensitization is a concept that is old but has not been widely adopted due to its social implications – at least as far as we know. Although this episode is nothing new, it is relevant considering the widespread xenophobia in western countries.
Moreover, we use filters that can dramatically change our appearance every single day – via apps like Snapchat and Instagram. Filtering your faces to become something else or to make others see a different version of you is something that can occur anytime. And sadly, there is no knowing where this technology is headed.
MetalHead – Robotic Dog
In this black and white episode, the featured tech was a robotic dog chasing a human. And recently, the New York Police Department has released their latest endeavor – the Digidog.
This resembles the Black Mirror tech not only in shape but also in its function – the only difference is that it is blue and black in color. This 70-pound robo-dog is still in its test phase. The dog uses AI to navigate through its surroundings and can transfer data to police officers in real time.
It can even respond to alerts and has already played its role in a home invasion in the US.
The aim of the dog is to help save lives and protect both people and police officers. However, if you have seen the Black Mirror episode, you might be thinking that this is not a good idea. But we will just have to wait to see whether the world is ready for robotic dogs yet.
Hated In the Nation – Robotic Surveillance
The Robotic Bees featured in the Hated in the Nation episode is one of the tech tools that are way too likely to happen. Even though we might not have the same small bees, we definitely have different versions of drones flying above us. There is also software that allows for mass control of multiple drone devices and collects information in real-time.
Given that social-media screening has become the norm today, it is entirely plausible that such tech can emerge in the not-so-distant future.
As interesting as Black Mirror is, it can be scary when we realize that many of the scenarios portrayed in the series are no longer hypothetical. A majority of us are constantly using technology, and in fact, consuming it as if our lives depend on it. Black Mirror only sheds light on the fact that we need to limit our time spent around tech as much as possible.
Although technology can make our lives easier, there is also a downside to it, and one that is not entirely in our control. On a positive note, the more aware we are of the implications, the better we can take command of the situation by understanding how we should and shouldn’t use tech.