8 Shocking Black Mirror Scenes That Have Already Become Reality (Spoilers)
If you are a Netflix junkie of any sort, you would have probably come across the series Black Mirror at some point in time.
The Emmy-winning program consists of standalone episodes set in an alternative present or near future. They deal with controversial and contemporary topics with dark and satirical tones.
The program explores how technology dominates our lives and how it can be used for utilitarian good and exploited.
Most viewers of Black Mirror (us included) are often shocked and blown away by the plot twists and eerie storylines that put the livelihood (and sometimes even the lives) of the main characters at stake.
But have you ever noticed that some Black Mirror scenes have actually played out in real life?
Don’t believe us? You might be surprised.
Black Mirror Scenes that Have Taken Place in Real Life
Black Mirror is a series that is way ahead of its time – so let’s explore the creepy real-world parallels and Black Mirror scenes that are actually taking (or have taken) place in our world.
(Just a warning that there might be some spoilers)
1. Smartphone Obsession (White Bear)
Most fans can probably agree that White Bear was one of the most heart-stopping episodes released. There were various scenes showing spectators glued to their smartphones as the main character, Victoria, gets chased by a mad man.
If you are reading this blog while you are commuting to work, look around. Most people are probably glued to their screens.
Since you are reading this blog on-the-go, you are probably glued to your screen too.
Smart phones are taking over the world as we speak.
2. Likes on Social Media = Worth (Nosedive)
Remember how the main character, Lacie Pound, got uninvited to her friend’s wedding because her rating plummeted?
That scene basically demonstrates the society’s obsession with ratings. it also exhibits how your reputation can go down the drain in the blink of an eye when you get a negative review. This parallels review culture on platforms like Google, Grab and Go-Jek.
3. ‘Sextortion’ (Shut Up & Dance)
Of all the Black Mirror scenes that had us shook, this one was probably the most heart-wrenching.
The main character, Kenny, becomes a victim of blackmail after downloading a free malware software. The hacker films Kenny performing sexual acts and coerces him into carrying out a series of criminal acts including robbery and alleged murder.
4. Invasion of Privacy (Playtest)
After White Bear, we didn’t think there would be any other Black Mirror scenes that would have us at the edge of our seats. But Playtest had us cringing because of Wyatt Russell’s spectacular performance as Cooper as well as the eerie parallels we just could not ignore.
Cooper participates in a horror game test created by SaitoGemu which uses augmented reality (AR) technology to facilitate an experience based on one’s greatest fears. His real fears come to ‘life’ during the game and we witness Cooper having a full-blown meltdown.
The obvious parallel is the gradual evolution of AR but you already know that. So let’s read between the lines a little.
If Playtest highlights anything, it’s we are so ready to unveil personal and sensitive information about ourselves on free social media sites and personal blogs without realizing how it might hurt us.
With technologies like fitness trackers and Google Maps having access to our biological data and location, we are steadily losing our grip on privacy to technology.
5. Drone Evolution (Hated in the Nation)
We realized most of what we said earlier looks pretty bleak. So here is something more positive.
While watching this episode, we witnessed the consequences of hate culture. But there was one huge aspect of the episode that we could not ignore.
The evolution of drones.
Those bee drones had us amazed because we are pretty used to medium to large contraptions controlled by a remote. But Hated in the Nation introduced us to autonomous drones the size of killer bees.
With autonomous drones in the market, we can probably expect to see more drone developments.
6. Fictional ‘Reality’ (Fifteen Million Merits)
Reality series like Keeping Up with the Kardashians and The Bachelor give us a real-life glimpse into the cast lives. But how much is it is really real?
Fifteen Million Merits shows us how we are so willing to trade organic and real experiences for more entertaining or comfortable alternatives that are fake or manufactured just to make money.
Take Bing for instance. After criticizing the judges of Hot Shot for turning Abi Khan, his only friend, into a porn star, Bing gets offered an opportunity to have his own show and escape the brutal living conditions of the panopticon-like societal space. Sadly for the viewers, Bing takes up the offer to enjoy better living conditions, instead of fighting for what he truly believed in.
So what is really real and what is manufactured?
Most of us don’t really care these days.
7. Facial Recognition Technology (Crocodile)
Most viewers can probably agree that Crocodile‘s main antagonist, Mia, had a very interesting and terrifying character dynamic. But bad people are everywhere, so let’s focus more on the technological aspect of things.
Instead, we were more intrigued by the Shazia’s Recaller, which helped the insurance agent identify individuals through facial recognition technology.
With platforms like YITU Technology, Singtel and Facebook making use of it, facial recognition technology is growing exponentially. Then again, however, this raises concerns about data privacy and personal information.
The Conversation also highlighted that facial recognition technology brings monitoring to a whole new level and has the potential to violate human rights without proper regulations.
8. AI Friends (Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too)
Doesn’t the whole concept of an AI for a friend seem vaguely familiar to you?
Well, if you have been keeping up with local news the past year or so, you might have probably watched or read about former Mediacorp host Chua En Lai’s experience with sex robots and other forms of AI. Read more about his experience here.
The Costs of Innovation
Innovation is generally regarded as a utilitarian phenomenon. However, while innovations may be leading the way for progress and development, they also pose various risks on human rights and morality. If the aforementioned Black Mirror scenes prove anything, it’s that technology can be used for good but also abused and corrupted if it falls into the wrong hands.