‘Black Mirror’: A cautionary tale for modern times
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MANILA, Philippines – By this point, you might have already heard of a little show called Black Mirror, an anthology series that’s the brainchild of English screenwriter and producer Charlie Brooker.
If you haven’t yet, here’s a quick summary: Black Mirror offers a glimpse of a not-so-distant future where modern technology rules practically every aspect of our lives.
And in case you haven’t noticed it yet, the title itself is an allusion to the digital screens we look at every day.
Save for only a couple, every Black Mirror episode reads like a case study of technological advancements gone wrong: ruined relationships, smeared reputations, and humanity driven to the brink of extinction – all caused, ironically, by man-made innovations.
In our heads, it paints a future that looks all bleak and terrifying – or is it, really? (READ: Technology and how it will destroy us all (according to ‘Black Mirror’ Season 3)
If anything, Black Mirror taught us what not to do by exploring worst-case scenarios, although exaggerated at times, that could happen should we let our affinity with tech rule over us.
Here are 3 lessons this show has taught us when it comes to dealing with technology:
Learn to let certain things be
Black Mirror presents many cutting edge innovations such as implants that allow saving and reviewing of memories at will (Entire History of You) and an upgraded method of child monitoring (Arkangel).
These implants give its users power in the form of knowledge, of how their loved ones literally see the world.
But with knowledge came a ton of responsibility, which the characters in said episodes failed to carry. Trust issues ensue, causing a marriage and a mother-daughter relationship to disastrously fall apart.
Trust and free will are vital in human relationships, and these are exactly what’s eliminated with the introduction of these implants. We’ve managed to come this far without snooping into our loved ones' lives at this level – and we should never.
Use social media and the internet responsibly
What makes Black Mirror such a relatable show is that many of the tech depicted in the show is, if not an iteration, of something that we already use today. Case in point: social media, the internet, and mobile apps.
From the get-go, the show has already established how these can be used to ruin a reputation if only to make a point (National Anthem), to create new yet completely unbelievable and unreasonable standards of perfection (Nosedive), and to bring about a twisted form of justice (Hated in the Nation).
In the real world, countless campaigns worldwide have been made to encourage netizens to use social media and the internet wisely by being careful and thoughtful of what they post, for they can destroy lives and, at worst, even cause death.
If these reminders haven’t convinced you to pause for a moment the next time you post something rash, maybe these episodes will.
In the quest for justice, don’t let outrage blind you
Frustrated by slow processes and unfair decisions, people have become wont to taking justice into their own hands. In the social media age, this means posting about bad people and experiences with the goal of going viral.
Don’t get this wrong – we have seen actual justices committed this way. Truly evil people have been punished, processes are fast-tracked, movements begin, and changes for the better happen.
But more often than not, things go too far. In their quest for justice, people, out of anger, don’t bother getting all sides and make hasty conclusions. Which leads them to dole out more punishment than their targets actually deserve.
We have all the rights to be angry at, and to call out, the bad guys – from a public figure who knowingly makes morally-questionable judgments (Hated in the Nation) to an average person who willingly becomes complicit to a murder (White Bear). But as we decry the atrocities they’ve committed, we must remember to remain level-headed and not let our anger get the best of us.
Black Mirror reminds us to stay human. All the gadgets we use every day have been created to help cut down the menial, repetitive tasks to allow us to perform our jobs at optimum level and focus on things that matter most, to make things easier and more convenient for us, and to keep us safe and secure. (READ: In ‘Black Mirror’ season 4, humanity finally wins)
Technology is arbitrary. How we use it dictates whether it’s good or bad.
What’s your favorite Black Mirror episode and what lesson did you learn from it? Sound off in the comments! – Rappler.com
Binge watch Black Mirror, if you haven’t yet, on Netflix.
Speaking of tech, we’ve come up with a selection of products that can help enrich (and hopefully not destroy!) your everyday experiences. Check them out here: