Why Black Mirror Isn't Far From Reality

Black Mirror is definitely one of my favourite tv shows of all time. It's just so different to anything else I have seen before. It makes me think of a modern sort of Twilight Zone. Each episode is different. Different characters, different plotlines, different realities. When you first watch it, you think about how bizarre it is, what a strange future that would be. The truth is, it's not really that strange, and it's not really the future. It's really not that far from reality today! If you haven't watched the show before, this post will contain !major spoilers!, and also, go watch it right now!!
I'm going to go in a fairly logical order here, and start with the first episode of the first series. It's titled 'National Anthem' and it's about a British Prime Minster who awakens one day to find that a member of the Royal Family has been kidnapped. To save the princess he must do whatever the terrorist demands him to do. I don't really want to mention it here, but it's something to do with a pig. Sound vaguely familar? Ugh. 

The second episode in the series was titled 'Fifteen Million Merits'. I was never too fond of this episode but it was based around a slave type environment, and a talent competition. If you got onto the talent show and managed to win it, that meant you could supposedly escape the slave life. I mean, with the amount of talent and reality tv shows there are nowadays, this doesn't seem that crazy does it.
'The Entire History Of You' was the third episode in the first series. It was about an 'alternative reality' where people have implants that record everything they see, do or hear. It allows them to playback any memories they have ever had, right in front of their eyes, or on a screen. I totally loved this episode, but it freaked me out at the same time. This really doesn't sound that unrealistic to me. Like surely this could happen fairly soon. Contact lenses that film or take pictures? Yup. Sure. Read this or this. TOLD YOU.

Moving on to the second series. The first episode is definitely my favourite. Starring Domhnall Gleeson, its such a moving, yet pretty scary episode. It's about a couple, the guy dies. I TOLD YOU SPOILERS! The girl soon discovers that the not so futuristic technology now allows her to communicate with him using his Internet history, and even creates a robot of him. Now do you know what makes this episode really scary, is that THIS CAN HAPPEN. It does happen! If you fancy a long read, you could read this article here, but in short, it basically says that a woman successfully 'talks' to her dead friend after uploading her digital consciousness into a texting bot interface. Creepy. That's not the end of it though, oh no. I don't suppose anyone watched the BBC Documentary Rest In Pixels?  "There are now over 30 million dead people on Facebook, so what happens when we leave that digital representation of ourselves behind? This film delves into the explosion of ways in which to store, advance, digitise and personalise our very own digital legacies. From avatars and holograms, to androids and algorithms that can tweet on our behalf from beyond the grave. We are now no longer resting in peace, we are resting in pixels."
In all honesty, that terrifies me. I do understand, and empathize, but it really really freaks me out.

The second episode White Bear is a really good one, and definitely worth a watch, but I couldn't really find anything similar to it in reality, yet.

The third episode is a pretty silly one, and probably my least favourite of all the episodes I've seen. Its about a comedian who puts a 'character' of a cartoon bear in a local election. He then goes on to win the heart of the nation, and actually beat a few of the others people in the election. A fake made up character. This is probably the funniest one, but apparently 'Pub Landlord' aka Al Murray entered the 2015 general election, as his character the pub landlord! He didn't win of course, but he did get quite a few votes!

Then there was the Christmas Special in 2014 called 'White Christmas'. There are a few stories in this episode, one of which is slightly similar to the 'Entire History Of You' episode with the gadgets in their heads! This time round though, the gadget now gives you the ability to mute & block other people. While this sounds a bit far fetched, think about it. When using social media you have the ability to mute and block other people. Google have even introduced a service where there will block photos of your ex. Crazy.

Another story in this episode was about the ability to copy a digital version of yourself to control the real persons 'Smart House'. Now a smart house doesn't sound too unrealistic again. We already have smart heating, smart phones, even smart kettles. Turns out though, there was a company who had promised to do a very similar thing.

Moving onto the latest series. The first episode 'Nosedive' was about a girl trying to become popular on social media. Not just Facebook or Instagram, but an alternative reality where people can rate each other on their mobiles. The ratings can impact their entire lives. Where they can live, what they can do. First of all, this really isn't that realistic when it comes to social media nowadays. People judge you, you are given scores for how well you are supposedly doing. Like blogging, you can only apply for certain 'jobs' when you have a rating of ** and above. Turns out there is even a people rating app. How..awful.

The second episode 'Playtest' was about a guy who took part in a video game trial, a virtual reality game that was a bit more than,,realistic. First of all, of course there are test studies for video games, and virtual reality games are getting very realistic nowadays. In the episode, the main character comes across scenarios that are designed to test him, to scare him. The makers of the game are able to discover what is going on in his head, what he's thinking about, what scares him, and create his version of the game around that.
Not only are there some pretty scary virtual reality games around now, but there are games that figure out what scares you, and the game changes in accordance to that. 

'Shut Up And Dance' is the third episode of the series. It's about a guy who..plays with himself, and then gets a message that someone has hacked into his webcam and has a video of him doing it. (First of all, that totally happens. People's webcams can and have been hacked into in the past.) The guy is then blackmailed into doing a variety of tasks, in exchange for not sharing the video. Already this doesn't really sound that unbelievable. Hackers are pretty smart, people can be really sick & cruel. So this legitimately could happen. Wait...it did happen. A quote from the article; "A half hour later I get a message on Facebook. ‘Listen,’ it says, ‘I'm a man, and I recorded a video of you masturbating. Do you want to see it?" He sends me the video. It's about five minutes of me masturbating. I have a list of your friends and family from Facebook - your mum, your sister, your cousins,’ he says. ‘You have one week to send me to send me 5,000 euros (£4,450), or I'll send them the video." This whole Black Mirror thing is really starting to freak me out now. 

The next episode 'San Junipero' is about a virtual reality...place. Living people can visit there now and again, or you can choose to permanently move there when you die. This is just making me think of Sims to be honest. Well not the moving there when you pass over part! This episode isn't just about moving on, but it's also about reliving your youth, relishing the memories. Turns out, yup this is a real thing too. Known as nostalgia therapy. I don't really want to go into too much detail about this episode, but with technology and virtual reality going the way it is, I can totally see this happening in a not so distant future.

'Men Against Fire' is the second to last episode so far. It's about a post apocalyptic future, soldiers in a military type organisation who's job it is to hunt and kill mutants otherwise known as 'roaches'.
Hmmm. A virtual reality game, where you are a soldier. Or a VR game where you have to kill mutants, or zombies. Again with the 'chip in the head' thing, the soldiers are being controlled to see things different, hear things differently, only remember certain things. What do you know. A device that can control what your brain does. GREAT.

Last but not least, (there's another series coming out) the episode 'Hated By The Nation'.
It's about trolls, online humiliation, hacking and twitter. I mean come on. That's not even the future. As well as all those things, which are very clearly relevant at this point in time, in this episode it appears that bees have died out. The very thing that we have been warned about. The very thing that has happened in at least a couple of horror movies. The bees in this episode have been replaced with controllable 'robotic' bees. Guess what, go onto Google and type in 'RoboBees'. This scares me it really does. This cannot be a good thing surely. What do you think?

Well that's all I've got to say. I've freaked myself out. Let me just say this. When you first watched this show, did you think it's unrealistic? A dystopian future? An alternate reality?
Well it's not. It's real life. Your welcome.

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