By Jason Aquino
Humans have relied on technology to help them throughout history, but within the future of technology, uncertainty lies. Everyday, science fiction’s technology has come closer and closer to reality and has always been considered progressive. Black Mirror, a television show on BBC, deviates from other sci-fi shows by depicting the possible dangers of new technology, rather than the benefits. In the show, technology affects our secrecy, government, society, and emotions in despicable ways.
Although each of the episodes of Black Mirror follow different stories, they all incorporate the same theme: the relationship between technology and humanity. What makes Black Mirror unique is that it portrays characters who represent the diversity of people in the world. Characters range from a simple working man or a pregnant woman, to as high ranking as a prime minister. The characters each possess their own individual problems, but they are connected by the humanity of their plights. Qualities such as love, jealousy, power, and survival have been embedded into the human race since the dawn of time; they manifest themselves in the contemporary problems that the characters face in the show when technology dehumanizes them.
Other than depicting the relationship with technology and humanity, Black Mirror revolves around unnatural elements relating to the grotesqueness of science. In one episode, The Entire History of You, the story features an implant that allows people to watch all of their memories in organized files stored in their heads. These people can watch their own memories and that of those around them through a projector in their eyes, leading to the reveal of dark secrets. Another disturbing episode is Be Right Back, which features a form of a synthetic A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) replica used to replace dead loved ones. It is able to create a personality based on social media by collecting a person’s posts, likes, and comments, and builds a character based on that. The story deals with the struggles of loss and what people would do to bring back those they love from the dead. While also containing disturbing content, White Bear is far different than other Black Mirror stories. It features a dystopian setting where people are stuck filming one woman with their smartphones due to an alleged mind control device. The people who film her with their smartphones represent how technology is disconnecting us from human emotions. They film her like robots: without empathy. This is exemplified when hunters use phones to track and kill the woman. The ending is one of the best and most sinister moments in the show.
In essence, Black Mirror really shows us how technology changes us in unnatural ways. The show reveals the unpleasant side of technology by villainizing different types of devices that are intended to make society better. After watching the show, it will make you hesitate to buy that trendy, new smartphone or virtual reality headset.
All three seasons of Black Mirror is available on Netflix and is not for the faint of heart.