TV Conspiracy or the Coming of a New Dark Age ?
If you haven’t peeped Charlie Brooker’s TV Series, Black Mirror, it’s time to trash your rose coloured glasses and peer into your possibly perilous future as a citizen of the ‘singularity’ ! A term popularized by futurist and Google Brain architect Ray Kurzweil, the technological singularity is the near-future moment when artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence, and computers and humans merge into a single new species known as a cybernetic organism .. the legendary cyborg.
Black Mirror is a dark dream, and a chilling projection of who we might be, once we’re armed with fully integrated quantum intelligence. Fascinating and geeky in its scientific underpinnings, Black Mirror is a virtual reality ride into the unknown of our tech future. One of the most scorching questions of the day is .. is technology nasty or nice ? To Brooker and his team, the future is clear as a mirror and just like its designers… intrusive, under-cover, sinister… and everywhere ! Produced as an anthology series, Black Mirror is a land-rover of the mind and our future selves, and halts in its naive tracks, our happy frolic into the future. Exploring the clear and present risk of an encoded personal future, Black Mirror shines like a beautiful black light on the sinister velvet canvas of tomorrow.
In one episode, your eyes are hard-wired cybernetic recorders, documenting in high def everything you see and do… all day, every day. Consider the fun of it: an app that allows you the joy of capturing and replaying the events of your day at home later for your friends … so they can ‘meet’ the hottie you entertained at the cafe earlier that day. Sick, right ? Now consider recording the life that you don’t want others to see, and having that show up on the big screen in HD at your next dinner party … you’re now trapped in a Black Mirror moment. The show has fresh faces and no celebrities, using different actors and settings in each episode. But it’s Black Mirror’s stark psychological realities that makes the show a terrifying trek into our wired future ! What turns the dial down to absolute zero on the chilling scale is that it’s scenes, settings, and psychology is us, NOW. Relatable, everyday situations, styles and social environments usher the audience into a false sense of familiarity and drama. Nothing special, right ? Then, Brooker drops the high-tech ‘hook’ on you: a psycho-dramatic twist that turns technology into a weapon, authoring the demise of future-you …. trapped in the Black Mirror. Suddenly, what was the upside of technology is now the un-tender trap of the singularity, where devices are more tools of control and enslavement than toys of liberation. And where the prison and the grave become the new ‘home’ for one of society’s unlucky outsiders …or simply an insider that breaks a rule.
This visionary new series highlights the unavoidable clash between the freedom and computing power delivered by our ‘smart’ devices on the one hand, and the potential for coercive control by the ‘administrators’, on the other. Using the dramatic tool of anthology like its predecessors, The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected, Black Mirror provides an unlimited creative pallet for Brooker and his team to spin twisted technological tales with uber cyber-thrills in each episode. The exhilaration of having no idea which tech-warped reality you will be thrown into next is the dramatic backbone of the show. Shock and familiarity are the fuel of this brave new series, while trending topics and solid writing allow the audience to experience startling surprises in lock-step with characters in each scene. In case you’re not yet persuaded to gaze into the Black Mirror, Robert Downy Jr.’s production company has already optioned the episode, “The Entire History of You” for an upcoming film. The treatment is in development and slated for production as a full-length feature with Warner Brothers next year. Also critically acclaimed, Black Mirror won the Best TV movie/mini-series award at the 2012 International Emmys.
Guaranteed to be a new TV addiction for all futurists, techno-junkies, dystopian prophets and cyber-revolutionaries, Black Mirror makes us ask: which one will we be ? Enlightened by nano-science and our ‘friendly’ smart devices, or simply stripped and conscripted into a virtual world in which our very freedom has been off-loaded to a trans-human ‘administrator’ ? It’s a sobering look at the possible consequences of blindly rushing into the singularity. Watch and decide for your liberated self. But hurry up ! If Charlie Brooker’s vision is to be believed, this brave new world and the coming singularity… may be closer than you think.