The growing presence of technology in our lives has undoubtedly affected our social skills and our interactions with others. Technology can also alter our perception of events and emotion. This idea is explored in the sci-fi short story, “Mika Model”, written by Paolo Bacigalupi. The short story follows a detective, Detective Rivera, and a robot with artificial intelligence who had just murdered her owner. Detective Rivera’s judgment is clouded by the robot’s ability to read and respond to his emotions in such a humanistic way. The way Mika, as the robot is referred to, is able to manipulate Rivera into feeling sorry for her. Even after Rivera is brought to the crime scene of the brutal murder, he can’t help but feel sorry for Mika, even though she is not human and committed an obscene crime. Today’s technology is so effective in delivering what we want when we want it, that we are subject to its manipulation. Even in extreme situations, the power of technology can cause lapses in judgment and alter priorities.
The growing presence of technology in our lives has undoubtedly affected our social skills and our interactions with others. Technology can also alter our perception of events and emotion. This idea is explored in the sci-fi short story, “Mika Model”, written by Paolo Bacigalupi. The short story follows a detective, Detective Rivera, and a robot with artificial intelligence who had just murdered her owner. Detective Rivera’s judgment is clouded by the robot’s ability to read and respond to his emotions in such a humanistic way. The way Mika, as the robot is referred to, is able to manipulate Rivera into feeling sorry for her. Even after Rivera is brought to the crime scene of the brutal murder, he can’t help but feel sorry for Mika, even though she is not human and committed an obscene crime. Some think that the constant presence and accuracy of technology is a good thing, helping to make daily life easier, yet when technology does not perform its intended way, the consequences may be upsetting. Today’s technology is so effective in delivering what we want when we want it, that we are subject to its manipulation. Even in extreme situations, the power of technology can cause lapses in judgment and alter priorities.
It is easy to put our own deficiencies off on others. It seems as though our society does not want to take responsibility for falling prey to social media and technology’s trap. This is specifically highlighted in Ken Liu’s piece “Thoughts and Prayers.” From the onset of Liu’s piece, it seems as though the short story will highlight how technology will take over our lives and is a negative aspect of our society. Although this may be an accurate estimation at first glance, Liu, in fact, infuses commentary through the characters of the Fort family to stress the impact that social media can have on the individual. Ken Liu, in his short story “Thoughts and Prayers,” suggests that sensationalism in media has the paradoxical effect of setting the precedence for ultimate emotional detachment and emotional climax amongst its audience. Liu emphasizes that this detachment can be self-imposed as well, at times, and may also depend on experience.
Black Mirror, a science fiction Netflix series, explores extreme consequences of evolved technology use. One episode titled, Arkangel, explores what happens when a parent implants a surveillance system in her own daughter’s head. Allowing her to see and hear everything her daughter does.
An underlying theme this episode discusses is how censoring a child’s exposure to reality in anyway can have unintended impacts. This includes harming their mental health by inhibiting natural social cues in reality. So how much censoring is to much for a child? It is healthy to shield them from the pains of reality, or in some way is the pain necessary for our healthy development.
Initially the instillation of the Arkangel program in young Sarah seemed like a great invention. An easy way for a parent to track their child and make sure they were always ok. So why not add the ability to censor what they saw? Parents do it every day with kids when using technology, so what’s the difference if they could do it in real life.
The issue this episode of black mirror discusses is that when we censor kids from reality, we take away some of the negative aspects that they might experience. Although this may seem like a good thing, we forget how important pain is in healthy childhood development. One of the key scenes I want to focus on is when Sarah got upset that she wasn’t able to see her own blood. As a result she starts viciously stabbing her palm with a pencil in an attempt to see blood. With no prevail she threw a fit, and then slapped her mother. As the story progresses, Sarah has continued difficulty reading emotions on people such as anger and sadness since the program blurred her ability to see things like this in real life. After her mother went back on her promise to not use the program, Sarah goes crazy. So upset that her mother was so invasive on her life and didn’t give her a chance to learn for her own. As a result, she ran away from home after attacking her mother and the last time we see Sarah she ran away from home and is hitchhiking away from her family. It’s every parent’s nightmare, the very thing her mother worked so hard to prevent.
Overall, the main topic involved in the Arkangel is how a parent went out of her way to do what she thought was best for her child. When in reality, by shielding her daughter from the reality of life, she harmed her social development. And even ended up pushing her daughter away.
The Black Mirror episode “Nosedive” brings us to a futuristic, bright, and pastel-colored society that is hyper-focused on social media. On their social media platform, each user receives a social rating score that is comprised of ratings from their interactions with other people. This rating not only dictates your social status and the way you’re recieved by others but also your financial state and your job. This system has had a devastating effect on the existence of genuine emotion, causing all displays of emotion to be a performance meant to up one’s social rating. Lacie, the main character of the episode, is completely caught up in the social media craze. She is desperate to increase her score, which will enable her to buy the house she desires. Lacie struggles to replicate real emotion and over thinks every social interaction she has. This Black Mirror episode is similar to others in that it resembles a foreign dystopian society that explores present day issues by taking them to the extreme. However, if we analyze Lacie’s social interactions and her use of social media, it is clear to see that this society is not far off at all: many aspects of it are already here. This episode suggests that our investment in social media has caused it to become our lives literally, and that your reputation on social media determines the course of your life. A society has arisen in which there is no difference between your “online” self and your “real life” self, embodying of the effects of context collapse and the disappearance of the right to be forgotten. “Nosedive” displays result of the closing of this gap rooted in the pattern of Lacie’s social interactions and display of emotions.
Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror explores a myriad of contemporary issues, typically pertaining to the increased prevalence of technology and what exactly that means for the future of our society. In the episode, Nosedive, Brooker explores the effects that society’s obsession with peer acceptance on social media has on our daily interactions and the authenticity of self-presentation. The characters of this society are superficial in their interactions, and their overly polite attitude lacks authenticity, and is typically used only to get positive rankings on one’s online profile. Over the course of the story, the main character, Lacey, attempts to improve her ranking on her social media account in order to receive special perks that accompany being of a higher status.This eventually leads to Lacey having an outburst and speaking her mind, landing herself in jail due to her true expression of her emotions. At a first glance, one might see this episode as simply demonstrating our increasing obsession with technology and social media, however, throughout this episode, it becomes clear that the superficial appearance any individual characters speak large volumes to their internal state and the rampant lack of authenticity. Those who do not partake in the world of social media tend to be on the outskirts of society with less pristine appearances, and Lacey is able to have genuine interactions with them, whereas those who are overcome by their obsession with their ranking are incapable of interacting authentically with others. In general, it is believed that one’s external appearance does not perfectly reflect who they are, but in order to speak to the superficiality of social media, in this society, one’s appearances is directly correlated to who they are, so as Lacey’s appearance becomes more disheveled, she begins to approach a more liberated attitude, and can therefore express emotions in a genuine manner.
Helicopter parents are overprotective and feel that their judgement in every situation is best for their child. This type of parent goes to great lengths to ensure that their child will not be exposed to detrimental behavior. In Archangel, an episode of Black Mirror, Sara is the victim of the ultimate helicopter mom, but suffers greatly from her every move being monitored. With her mother surveying her every move, are the experiences she is shielded from limiting the formation of her identity? Anyone familiar with Black Mirror knows that the show takes a technology that is popular today, or seems possible, and creates a fictional situation that usually has the technology creating a dark ending. Many see the show as a warning to society of the dangers of the technology we used and are advancing. Archangel is no different. The show has a dark ending, one that will make audiences question how we monitor children through technology. However, this episode also explores how experiences, even the bad, shape our identities. Archangel presents a near future plot and uses a child surveillance technology to show that by censoring our children’s experiences their self-identification process is hindered and become desensitized to the world.
Black Mirror’s third season opens with a thought-provoking commentary on the growth of social media in our society. The episode, named “Nosedive”, follows an energetic young woman named Lacie, whose every thought revolves around raising her social media score. Although her obsession seems ridiculous to the audience, once we realize how influential one’s score is, we have no choice but to sympathize with Lacie as she struggles to please everyone she comes in contact with. We are then horrified to watch as Lacie unravels after a number of bad interactions drop her score. Her breakdown only pushes her score lower until she essentially becomes a societal pariah who, by the end of the episode, is in jail. Lacie’s fall from grace makes us question, how does a “harmless” social media ignite such strong and torturous insecurities in its users? The answer given by the episode, is unrealistic comparison. The social media depicted in “Nosedive” is made up of members whose profiles are entirely unrealistic, this includes Lacie, who frequently doctors her online look in ways that don’t reflect her true self. Yet even though she falsifies her own profile, she compares herself to others as if their profiles are completely authentic. This contradiction of is what causes such unrest among social media users. Nosedive draws attention to the growing disparity between online profiles and real life, and warns about how this disparity may lead to detrimental and unrealistic comparisons.
Have you ever referred back to “receipts” such as text messages or screenshots in order to prove a point or catch someone in a lie? “The Entire History of You”, the season one episode of Netflix original Black Mirror, created by Charlie Brooker, encapsulates the near-future possibility of memory-capturing technology. However, the episode focuses on the negative side of how this sort of technology can drive a person nearly crazy and ruin their lives as they know it. The main character Liam, uses this “grain” in order to closely analyze his wife Fi’s every interaction with her loudmouth friend, Jonas, who he suspects are having an affair. By the end of the episode, Liam has become a completely different, more forceful and rash person, as well as destroyed his life as he knew it. Many people may watch this episode and deduce that the technology used was at fault for the degradation of Liam and Fi’s marriage. However, this assumption wouldn’t fully cover the complexity of the situation because it was Liam’s own utilization of the technology that caused this major shift. In turn, this episode portrays that memory capturing technology brings out the very worst in people, namely the proliferation of mistrust in society; the episode is a critique of human nature itself in the wake of developing machinery, rather than said machinery itself.
In the episode “Arkangel” from Black Mirror, an overprotective mother gets an electronic chip implanted into her daughter’s head at a young age after facing the stress of losing her daughter at the park. This new technology that seems convenient and helpful on the surface causes various mishaps, ultimately leading to the demise of their mother-daughter relationship. Throughout the episode, it is evident that the mother becomes increasingly reliant on her technology to constantly be in-the-know about her daughter. Because of this, she begins to feel alone and uncomfortable being disconnected from the system, forcing herself to live without knowing every detail about her daughter through Arkangel. Although the show takes place in a dystopian, futuristic society, it arises the question about our technology-driven society today: Are we becoming overly dependent on our devices to remain connected with others constantly? In today’s world, there are endless applications and social media platforms with the ability to message, track and record others in addition to posting updates by the minute. This episode “Arkangel” of Black Mirror negatively depicts society’s reliance on technology by critiquing how people and their relationships are negatively impacted by the constant need for their devices.
The Black Mirror episode “Arkangel,” directed by Jodie Foster, is an episode that is part of a Sci-Fi series that explores the possible downfalls and transitions that come along with the advancement of modern-day technology. After single mother Marie loses her young daughter Sara at the playground, she becomes fearful of the well-being of her daughter when she is not around her. Marie learns about Arkangel, a tech-operated child monitoring system that allows Marie to never go without the full supervision of her daughter. Arkangel allows Marie to filter out the negative stimuli in Sara’s vision, GPS track her, and even gets to see Sara’s every move. Due to this new technology, Sara has not been allowed to develop regularly. Without being able to see any of the negative stimuli, Sara has no clue what happens behind the filtered picture her vision sees. Sara eventually gets fed up with this censoring because she wants to see the contents behind them. After an incident where Sara becomes frustrated with the censoring, the psychologist tells Marie it is best to turn off the Arkangel tablet so that Sara could develop regularly. Sara starts to develop normally until one day she lies to Marie about watching a movie with her friends. After a few missed phone calls, Marie decides to use the Arkangel once again. She sees Sara having sex with a classmate and later on catches her snorting cocaine. Sara eventually finds out about her mother overseeing her again after finding an emergency contraception package in the trash can. Sara hits her mother brutally and runs away. This episode can be seen as an extreme of what Michael P. Lynch talks about in his article “Privacy and the Threat to the Self,” where excessive supervision hurts one’s freedom and development. In Arkangel, Director Jodie Foster examines the downfalls of over supervision that involves invading one’s personal privacy. What ultimately results is Sara’s freedom and ability to naturally develop are hurt are harmed through unnecessary supervision. Throughout Arkangel, the idea of personal privacy is examined from both ends. One from the viewpoint of Marie, who is trying to be a good mother and be confident in the wellbeing of her daughter through monitoring and filtering. On the other hand, Sara is personally affected by the unnecessary supervision and filtering that hinders her social life, emotional wellbeing, and privacy.
The internet dictates our lives and is affecting our relationships. With the rise of the media, people are striving more and more for perfection since communication and efficiency are both made much easier. The internet and people’s online profiles often illustrate an unrealistic image of reality which translates into a skewed image of the world. In the Black Mirror episode “Hang the DJ”, a young couple, Frank and Amy, begin seeing each other, thanks to the online programming system that matches people based on their compatibility. The dating mechanism, known as “The System” includes information on what activities the couple should engage in, to how long their relationship should last. With the rise of the internet, it is frightening because a system like this does not seem like it would be impossible to implement in our society today. It would make dating much easier and would rid much of the uncertainty that is involved. However, despite these pros, it also takes away the beauty of the unknown which can also be described as living. When we know all the answers, it can strip us of our ability to think for ourselves, make decisions and truly live.
With the constant increase in technological advancements have come an increase in the ways in which people are able to communicate. Text messaging, Instagram, Snapchat, or… online dating all take on prevalent roles in modern society. Many would likely agree online dating carries a certain stigma. For a series of different reasons, public opinion can lead some to believe some sense of dishonor should be associated with finding a potential partner through this newly created technology. The Black Mirror episode “Hang the DJ” contradicts this claim of what some people view as unconventional dating. The episode revolves around two young people named Amy and Frank. Amy and Frank are set up through a compatibility algorithm known as the “System”. In taking part in the System, participants are provided with a small device that provides the user with advice and an expiration date on the participants’ relationship. Though Frank and Amy seem to hit it off, the System only allots them with 12 hours. After both being matched repeatedly with other people, they find they are meant for each other. Ultimately, they rebel against the entire System in order to be together. Through subtle hints embedded throughout different scenes in “Hang the DJ”, the show is able to display the message that sometimes in order to obtain true love you have to go against conventional norms, especially those pertaining to technology.
The Black Mirror episode, Hang the DJ, directed by Tim Van Patten, follows Frank and Amy, two individuals using a dating service, which promises to find a user’s “perfect match” with 99.8% accuracy. In the beginning of the episode, the situation seems quite familiar: a young couple set up on a date by a digital dating device, which viewers can easily see as the future of dating technologies like Tinder. Frank and Amy meet at a restaurant, where the setting becomes increasingly unfamiliar. The couple touches their devices to reveal their relationship’s expiration date: 12 hours. When Amy gives a bite of her meal, which was chosen based on the device’s knowledge of her palate, the couple appears to be surrounded by shadowy individuals who watch their every move, ensuring that they comply with the dating service’s instructions. The later revelation that the couple lives in a walled-in society further increases the viewer’s uncertainty about the world in which Frank and Amy live. The end of the story reveals that the viewer’s trepidation is warranted, with Frank and Amy’s world exposed as a simulation for a dating service, that will help real-world Frank and Amy find their “perfect match”. Hang the DJ is often noted as diverging from other episodes of Black Mirror, because of its seemingly happy ending. The ending may inspire hope for real-world Frank and Amy, however, it puts into question the rights of their simulations, which appeared to possess emotionality and desires for a future. Hang the DJ fits into the genre of futuristic literature and films that ask its viewers if machines created for human use are deserving of rights. Hang the DJ warns its viewers that as technology becomes increasingly intelligent, mirroring humanity, it becomes ever more evident that these beings are deserving of rights.
The movie, “Nerve” directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Shuman, is a modern day film which depicts the lengths that teens nowadays are wiling to go on the basis of technology and entertainment. The movie follows Vee, a timid, intelligent girl from Staten Island and Ian, a more adventurous individual. Both characters are “players” in the new game called “Nerve.” This game asks users to either be “players” or to be “watchers.” The watchers pay to watch the players compete outlandish dares to win big money. At first Vee is asked to complete innocent dares such as riding a motorcycle or trying on expensive clothing, but it soon escalates to stealing clothes and having Ian shoot Vee. The watchers do not recognize the severity of the game as they are viewing it behind their screens. Both the watchers and the players are not allowed to report any aspects of the game to the authorities, causing the characters to stray from discouraging the harmony of the game. This notion of group think causes individuals to make decisions on the basis of the group, instead of their own morals. In the movie, “Nerve,” technology slowly encompasses that characters lives as their bank accounts, statuses, and even their own lives are put on the line because of these dares. How far are we willing to go for entertainment?
San Junipero is a Black Mirror episode about living for eternity in a computer program after earthly death. Although this dystopian society is primarily viewed in positive light, I argue that the society portrays a deep issue, that says speaks to the direction society is moving in. By that I mean, the society described is essentially hell when viewed upon in the Catholic faith, and the way that the episode it glorified, it speaks as to the movement away from religion towards more atheistic views. My issue with the people who enjoy the society that the episode portrays, is that they are simply disregarding the value of life. Human life has an intrinsic value from being created by God, and is not the same as just emotions or consciousness, the dystopian society in Black Mirror’s San Junipero is a society that takes that value away to a high degree.
Imagine helicopter parenting taken to a new level when you have full access to your child’s location, ability to check his/her vitals, see through his/her very eyes, and set parental controls that blur distressing sights and sounds based on fluctuating cortisol levels from an implanted microchip and tablet device called, Arkangel. In Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, “Arkangel”, this episode shows how this innovative and reassuring child safety technology becomes the ultimate demise between single mother, Marie, and her daughter, Sara. Throughout the episode, the mother uses the Arkangel device at various points to obtain information on her daughter’s whereabouts and activities rather than communicating with her to reach a ground of a mutual understanding. Despite the show being a fictional, post-modern, dystopian society it paints a picture of the realistic future mankind is creating. Using technology to fulfill the responsibilities humans by nature were made to do, it is destroying the element of communication necessary to evolve as individuals and burning the bridges of trust to our closest bonds.
In Paolo Bacigalupi’s short story, “Mika Model”, technology and humanity come to a head in the form of a titular Mika Model, an android designed as a pleasure robot that wanders into a police station one day. She seems normal enough at first, if not innocent; right from the start, her ever-learning algorithms do what they are programmed to do best, and she toys with detective Rivera constantly. She insists upon needing a lawyer, and is met with cynicism until she produces the still-dripping head of her former owner from a bag, and confesses the murder on the spot. Throughout the ride to the scene of the crime in Rivera’s cruiser, the conversation at her former owner’s home, and the arrival of a representative of Mika’s producers to ‘deactivate’ her in a brutally homicide-like way, Mika is presented in a series of contrasts and, more sparingly, similarities to the ‘human’ world around her. Though at first these differences appear obvious – after all, this is a story about a nonhuman robot – these choices are much more deliberately set up to comment on the stark differences between where technology is headed and what we as humans understand. In this way, she is symbolic of the dissonance between the rapid pace of technological advancement in our society and our ability to adapt to, and react to, these changes.
As technology continues to improve, humanity becomes increasingly dependent on technology and artificial intelligence to help with everything from daily tasks to matching with someone on Tinder. Exemplified through the Black Mirror episode, “Hang the DJ,” the role of online dating in society has become transformed. Society has not only endorsed the concept of dating applications in the recent decade, but the upwards trend of technological efficiency and progress explains the creation of such an episode. The protagonists, Frank and Amy, carry their “Coach” device on them, supplied by The System, at all times to have it guide their behaviors. However, they begin to realize the constraints that The System places on their social lives through this device. This newfound realization mixed with their growing understanding of The System allows Frank and Amy to strive to influence their own relationship, rather than having the words of a machine dictate every facet of their social life. Through this episode of Black Mirror, the characters’ discovery of their simulated world illustrates how The System, in the eyes of those in the simulation, is meant for a greater social benefit. Instead, however, it sets boundaries on the sexual and emotional development of its users with time-constraints, forcing them to go from one relationship to the next and continue a constant cycle of short-term relationships. Such a “system” chooses to control a variable of dating that should not be, which is the controlling of the duration of relationships, thus blocking the natural development of them.
In his short story Mika Model, Paolo Bacigalupi explores the idea of human-like robots and identity. In the story Mika, a human-like robot who replicates intimacy, kills her owner and goes to Detective Rivera for a lawyer. Detective Rivera is torn about charging her because of his attraction towards her and the fact that she is a robot. When first reading the short story, readers are absorbed with Mika and the implications of AI and sentience. However, when reading the story again the behavior of the human characters is intriguing; how they treat the android and the implications of human identity are necessary to understanding the work as a whole. How has technology altered the behavior of humans and how they treat others? The term “robot” comes from Czech and means labor, so usually robot stories involve some sort of slavery. Common robot stories involve robots threatening to enslave humans, and the humans have to overcome them. Mika Model departs from this expectation; while Mika is a robot and a slave to humanity she seems pitiful. Ironically, when compared to the corporate lawyer she seems more human. In this short story the humans are painted as the cruel ones while Mika is sympathetic. Paolo Bacigalupi’s Mika Model proves that humans are becoming crueler as a result of emerging technology.
A society that revolves around finding your near perfect significant other through artificial intelligence. The Black Mirror episode “Hang the DJ” directed by Tim Van Patten seems to portray this idea. The protagonists, Frank and Amy, seem to be trying to find their almost perfect match by following directions from an AI called “Coach” in a city that was blocked off from the rest of the world by massive walls. If they found their ideal matches then the city would allow them to leave; however, Amy and Frank begin to question the system because they think that they are perfect for one another. Eventually, the two rebel against the AI and the city in light of figuring out that the entire city and program was a test made specifically for them. However, the twist ending was figuring out that the two characters that the viewers have been following were actually just simulations themselves for a dating app in the real world. At the very end of the episode, the real Frank and Amy are revealed and they seem to be looking at each other because Amy used a the dating app that depicted Frank to be her 99.8% match, but is this really a happy ending? The Frank and Amy the viewers see at the end did not go through anything that the other Frank and Amy have gone through so that the two can realize that they are ideal for each other without going through a “process.” This idea of skipping the struggles of finding the “one” is a strange because that means the real Franks and Amy are relying on an algorithm when the other Frank and Amy proved their love to be true by refuting the algorithm. So, will the real Frank and Amy truly end up as happy as their simulated selves by following the AI? The episode invoked a paradoxical question of whether an artificial experience will actually invoke a feeling as profound as love.
Imagine a world in which every aspect of every relationship you have is determined by a tablet. This is the type of world that is examined in the Black Mirror episode “Hang the DJ”. This episode follows Frank and Amy, two adults who have been matched up through this tablet, referred to as “Coach”, and who evidently fall in love without the machine’s permission. Throughout the story, it can easily be seen that Frank and Amy’s social lives tend to revolve around Coach’s choices in relationships. They don’t appear to have any outside friends and only socialize with those they are paired up with. If they try to work against the system, they are glared at and intimidated back into listening to the device. Therefore, the audience can easily see how this device is creating an altered identity for both of these individuals by determining every aspect of their social lives.
After being released from a mental institution and given back the phone that put her there in the first place, Ingrid uses the inheritance of her late mother to take up a life of instagram stocking of a social media star in Los Angeles. Ingrid obsesses over the seemingly perfect lifestyle of Taylor, a very successful young women with a dreamy husband, a healthy lifestyle to be bragged about, and a sense of style that is all to hipster and coveted. In “Ingrid Goes West” directed and written by Matt Spicer, Ingrid Thorburn uses awfully scary tactics to weasel her way into Taylor’s life under the muse of a fellow hip Instagram influencer. Not only do her tactics become obsessive and terrifying, but they become habitual in nature as she can’t stop herself from spending money to get “famous” while ignoring the necessities of life like food, shelter, and morals. In a film that is intended to be comedic at heart, a real message of warning is present. Spicer uses Ingrid and her twisted ways to show how social media can destroy someone’s life and burden the people associated with it.
Paolo Bacigalupi’s near-futuristic noir “Mika Model” imagines a world where sex robots can run amuck and humans are not quite sure how to deal with it. The story follows Detective Rivera, who, after an erotic AI named Mika confesses to decapitating her abusive owner, begins to question the personhood of the robot; can she be prosecuted like a human despite her artificial origins? The story seems to give an definitive answer at the end. A lawyer from Mika’s parent company “deactivates” Mika and assures Rivera that the robot was, at its core, wires and code, no more human than any other machine. Despite the cut-and-dry tone the story takes in the last few paragraphs, however, there are details subtly woven into the story which seem to suggest that AI can blur the line of sentience. “Mika Model” explores what it means to be human, particularly pondering at what point AI can truly become sentient, and touches upon the ethical dilemmas posed by the creation of intelligence for human consumption. It is through this philosophical journey that Bacigalupi suggests the ability to learn and transcend innate programming is the defining feature of truly being alive, and warns about the dangers of subjugating artificial life.
In the British show Black Mirror, each episode presents a near future where some sort of technology has radically changed society. Traditionally, the show ends on some sort of bleak note, providing a warning to viewers about their impending future with a given technology or concept. However, the episode entitled “Hang the DJ” breaks away from this model. The episode is making a commentary on dating, and more specifically dating technology. As the shows protagonists, Frank and Amy, fall in love, the viewer continuously expects something to go horribly wrong. Ultimately, the couple emerges unscathed and the traditional bleak ending viewers have grown accustomed to is missing. This surprise ending is a result of people needing a happy ending when it comes to love, and while Black Mirror is a show steeped in darkness, the producers knew that viewers needed a successful love story.
The first episode in the third season of Black Mirror, “Nosedive,” it exactly as the title states. Lacie Pound’s life is dictated by her ranking on social media. In a dystopian society, the higher the ranking, the better the quality of life and the higher they are on the social hierarchy. Lacie tries immensely to raise her score, faking smiles, offering croissants and constantly giving out five-star ratings to other people. But when Lacie finds out that her score is not high enough to afford her dream home, her attempts escalate and fail. Landing her in jail completely off the grid of social media. Some people might find this ranking system to be an effective replacement for first impressions. It compounds thousands of millions of other people’s opinion of that person into a figurative number. On the other hand, it tends to lead people to live a fake effortless perfection life. Lacie’s obsession with perfection and the views of her peers lead her to spiral out of control. This raises the question of the influence of social media: the closer someone is to social media, the less in touch with reality they are?
Known for his satirical and provocative themes, author of Black Mirror Mr. Charlie Booker has once again given his audience something to question in season three’s episode “The Entire History of You”. This British science fiction collection first shocked the world in 2011 and has continued to do so with every new episode. Frequent viewers would tell you that each episode proposes a scientific element and how that specific entity seems to be shifting society, either leading viewers into the future of what’s to come or the demise of the current state. In this specific episode a couple must deal with the implications of a memory device where they can constantly look back in time. As with most episodes, the focus falls upon how such use of the chip depicts modern issues and implications on how one acts and reacts within society. After first watching “The Entire History of You” viewers will most likely focus on how such device leads to the deterioration of a strong relationship and as a result take away such as the main implication of the chip. While plausible, the typical audience overlooks how the memory chip eliminates any uncertainty or insecurity characters in the show have – specifically those of the main character Liam. Even more so, viewers tend to focus on the destruction of romance between Liam and Fi when everso important is the destruction of Liam in and of himself at the end of the episode. Multiple scenes between Liam’s job and crumbling relationship with his cheating wife indicate the building blocks to his eventual fallout. Thus, the Black Mirror episode “The Entire History of You” tells of the complications an advanced memory device can cause by conveying that such technology where individuals can attempt to eliminate any uncertainty in life can lead to a breaking point in their character.
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