‘Black Mirror’ explores humanity’s tech paranoia

Avery Boulware, Campus Carrier Editor-in-Chief

During the first week of this new semester, my life void of tests and projects for the moment, I watched at least one episode of the new season “Black Mirror” every night before going to bed. And boy, did it do a number on me. 

For those that have never experienced the show, it is truly ahead of its time. The show is set in the near future, and each episode focuses on advances in technology and the moral problems that come with incorporating it into everyday life. Episodes from between 40 and 80 minutes, and each tell independent stories of one another, acting almost as miniature movies. 

The production value is breathtaking and the acting is amazing, earning “Black Mirror” multiple Emmys. 

Reviewers have said that “Black Mirror” taps into our already uneasy feelings about rapidly advancing technology around us. Recent memes have circulated about the FBI agent constantly watching us through our front facing cameras, similar to the blackmail that occurs in the “Shut Up and Dance” episode. Earlier this week, videos of robot dogs opening doors for themselves in a research facility in Boston went viral, looking eerily similar to the ones in the “Metalhead” episode of the show. The most recent season of Black Mirror has played heavily with the idea of transferring consciousness and making it eternal. While this is not a reality yet, researchers are certainly toying with the idea. 

More than becoming uneasy with technology, “Black Mirror” highlights our fear of the violence that humans are capable of committing. This sentiment is similar to the principle behind the Stanford Prison Experiment: when put in situations of power or enablement, there are few boundaries that humanity won’t cross. It’s shocking to watch, but at the same time, many of the situations that Black Mirror creates could be reality very soon. It’s haunting to consider how we would act in these same situations, especially since Brooker’s characters are often incredibly relatable and have incredible depth. 

We can sympathize with a mom that just wants to keep her daughter safe, even if it means manipulating what she sees. We can relate with a boy that made a mistake in private and will do anything to keep it from becoming public. 

Humanity can weaponize essentially any tool they develop. We are almost too smart for our own good. Manipulating consciousness or having virtual omniscience is within our reach as a society, but that doesn’t mean we should make it a reality. 

These complex subjects are incredibly important to consider as a society. Our moral code must remain intact, even as our technology continues to advance. Also, don’t watch “Black Mirror” every night before going to bed unless you want to spiral into an existential crisis. Just a bit of advice. 

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