With so many sci-fi series out there dealing with very creative future-techs, Black Mirror tends to be a league above the rest because of two reasons: One, the show doesn’t talk about only one particular future tech throughout its course. Being an anthology with a very elastic nature, the creators of Black Mirror have spread their roots deep and discussed in detail about a lot of peculiar and unconventional technologies which forms both the world and character building of a particular episode. The second reason the show has set a new standard for all sci-fi series is the well-constructed and emotionally exhausting plotline for each episode. Due to the versatile nature of storytelling used in the show, it has gained a strong fan base throughout the world. These extremely sophisticated technologies discussed in the show has made countless viewers question whether our scientific progress is actually helping us move forward or is pulling us down by making us lose our core nature.
Here are our top picks for the most bizarre and unique technology discussed in Black Mirror that truly left us baffled and terrified:
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
1. Parental Guidance Is Advised (Arkangel)
After losing her child one day in a park, Marie becomes extremely cautious about her child’s safety and invests in a high-end technology (Arkangel) that helps her monitor every single activity her child (Sara) does. However the applications of the Arkangel doesn’t end here, apart from supervising your child, Arkangel also gives parents the power to control what their children see and hear. Although Marie has the best in heart for her child and protects her from all the stressful stimuli in the surroundings, things don’t go very well when Marie becomes extremely dependent on this tech. With no actual experience or knowledge about the outside world, Sara soon becomes a social outcast and emotionally challenged kid. The episode finally ends with that message that sometimes you really have to let your kids fight their own battle so that they don’t get bitten by the world. If this invention could produce so much harm in a less-conservative environment like the USA, imagine the damage it could do in a country like ours?
2. Mechanized Killer Bees (Hated In the Nation)
Yup, you read it right. If you ever thought a swarm of honey bees were scary, well you will be 10x more scared of them after watching this episode of Black Mirror. This episode of Black Mirror deals with Autonomous Drone Insects, more precisely robotic bees used for pollination as a replacement for the actual bee species that have gone extinct. Well, everything seems to go smoothly with this wonderful creation of science until a hacker decides to use these bees to kill the most hated person in the country by getting the collective votes of people on Twitter. How do you a stop a hundred thousand bees targeting a single person?
3. Automatic Memory Saver (The Entire History of You)
Probably one of the most depressing episode of the show, “The Entire History of You” deals with a future tech known as “Grain”, that is a surgically placed recording chip which automatically makes a digital copy of your memory. This tech discussed in the episode might seem like an ordinary, overused Sci-Fi concept, but the possible damage a device like this could do is clearly depicted through the “eyes“ of the character in the show, both literally and figuratively. This episode left me in a hollow, numb state of disorientation without even using any high funda concepts or a terrorizing villain. It used a simple technology that is quite plausible to imagine in the future and elevated the consequences of such an invention to a whole new level by entirely focusing upon how relationships and families can get destroyed within seconds because of its application.
4. “Likey Likey” App (Nosedive)
Hands down one of the most relatable and truly terrifying dystopian episode of Black Mirror, Nosedive takes place in a world where every social interaction of yours is rated and holds absolute power over your status and wealth in the society. This is done basically using a social-media app that maintains a track of your popularity rating and gives you benefits based on your popularity score. Higher your popularity more is the benefits you receive. We already live in a world where we have exchanged our happiness for likes and peace for our labels, what if you are told this is the only way of life you are expected to live? Will you survive in such a world? This is one amongst the many questions raised by this episode.
5. AI that brings back the dead (Be right Back)
A story of love, loss and grief, this episode of Black Mirror is the most devastating of all. After losing her husband in a car crash, Martha gets an offer to use a new experimental AI tech that is capable of producing a real-life stimulation of your loved ones. This tech comes up in three levels of services, in the first level you can simply communicate with the AI in phone, as the level progresses the stimulation becomes more human and real. The AI gets a better understanding of the person you want it to impersonate through the data you feed, social media feeds and your regular interactions with it. Man’s fascination to defy laws of nature and bring back a person from the dead has been never ending. This episode is one such attempt to discuss what might prevail when Man tries to battle the Laws of Nature to cope up with his grief.
6. Performance Enhancement Implants (Men Against Fire)
Set around the notion that, “A man might go to any length for his survival”, Men against Fire is often cited as one of the most disturbing episode of the show is about the lives of soldiers. Stripe and Raiman are military officers who are assigned to exterminate the presence of certain mutant species in the post-apocalyptic world. The soldiers of the military in this world have neural implants in their brain that enhances their sense and helps them identify these mutant species (called as roaches) better. From the very beginning of the episode, we are thoroughly blind-sided that this tech is for the best for mankind until the very end where it revealed that this tech used by the government actually manipulates the soldiers to see humans of certain bloodline as monsters with teeth and horns so that they can kill the enemies of the government without any remorse or empathy. At the end of the episode the viewers are left morally conflicted and worried about the consequences of such high-tech and modern warfare.
7. Link Your Soul to the Cloud (San Junipero)
If the technology discussed in this episode ever came into existence then one need not worry about their soul going to heaven or hell, because their consciousness with the help of this tech can be uploaded to the cloud server where they can live at their own version of paradise. This technology is even more helpful for the dying and disabled who now can enjoy their life to fullest in this virtually-augmented paradise meant for them. This is one of the very few episodes of Black Mirror which focuses on the good aspects that a tech-driven world might bring in the future which makes it an absolute joy to watch.
By Jeyashri Ravichandiran