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'Black Mirror' predicted our dystopia. How does it evolve?

'Black Mirror' predicted our dystopia. How does it evolve?
From Engadget - January 4, 2018

Spoilers for Black Mirror season four ahead.

There's no doubt the world in 2018 is a very different place than when Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones started the series. You could say we are basically living through a Black Mirror episode. We are more addicted to smartphones than ever. Social media companies have a tremendous sway on how we consume news, making it harder to discern fact from fiction. And, of course, there's a reality show star sitting in the White House who could start a nuclear war while tweeting from the toilet. Compared to that, a story simply telling us that we should be wary of child surveillance technology does not seem as compelling. We know.

It could be that we are just holding Black Mirror to high standards, given just how trenchant it's been over its first three seasons. Fifteen Million Merits (my personal favorite) thrust us into a futuristic world where people live in rooms surrounded by screens, are forced to exercise for money and their only respite is a vapid reality TV show. Be Right Back is a somber tale of romantic loss that explores the creation of a digital consciousness and the value of an android's life. And White Christmas, the show's Netflix debut special starring Jon Hamm, explored the existential horror of forcing AI to live through months of isolation at the turn of a dial. Sure, every episode is not a slam dunk -- the voyeuristic punishment of White Bear and the bee drones (yup) for Hated in the Nation come to mind. But the show's dramatic highs overshadowed those pitfalls.

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