Imagine that the typical money-for-ransom is traded with a weird request like: “If you want to get your dear princess back, the prime-minister will have to have sexual intercourse with a pig on live television.” Will the prime-minister do it? Or more importantly, in a heavily socialized society where viral content dominates the people’s attention span, would they want him to do it and would they watch?
Or imagine that you live in a future where the most common way of making an income is to work on huge energy-production buildings where people pedal specialized stationary bikes to produce the energy that the rest of the world will consume. The alternative of leading this boring and tiresome life is to become a star in worldwide-broadcast reality shows that range from singing or pornography to physical abuse. Is everything better than the bike?
Or imagine instead that everyone has a brain implant that allows recording and reviewing every memory they have ever had and, by using a small external device, people can simply rewind and fast-forward to a particular memory and display it on a nearby TV for everyone to see. Now imagine you suspect your wife is cheating on you and you over-analyse every memory that you have of her with the guy you suspect she’s having the affair with. How long would it take you to go insane?
These stories are the plots of the 3 episodes of the first season of BBC’s wonderful series Black Mirror, a techno-paranoia drama where each episode features a different story, a different cast and a different reality. In a modern-day Twilight Zone-like setting, each story brings us a potential future for our society that, albeit seeming a bit extremist, will definitely leave you thinking if this is really what you want for your future.
I definitely recommend everyone to see it. I dare say it’s mandatory for anyone with any kind of technology enthusiastic view of the society.