black mirror was never a show to shoot its shots. Since its debut in 2011, the show has maintained its edge by showing both the positive and detrimental effects of technology on society. Viewers have seen everything from memory-reading devices that act like a human DVR to nanobot bees that have the ability to hit a specific target. black mirror The main theme throughout its run has always been the consequences of advancing technology.
But that doesn’t mean it’s all bad news. There were a few inventions highlighted on the show that, with some constructive tweaking, might prove useful. Some of these products may even become a reality in the not so distant future.
10) Ashley too
In a very rare wholesome episode of Black Mirror, ‘Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too’ basically played out as an update Hannah Montana scenario. Miley Cyrus plays a pop star who wants nothing more than to be herself. After her likeness was uploaded into a line of dolls called “Ashley Too,” that yearning for normality continues. When Ashley Too accidentally receives a bizarre software update, she becomes sentient and takes on Ashley’s true self.
Agree, it may not be the most practical of all black mirror products, but think about the possibilities. A fully interactive AI doll that can be customized to upload any celebrity’s personality. The technology could be applied to everything from public relations tours to comforting children in hospitals. Who wouldn’t want a thumbnail tom hank cheer them up?
9) Conveyor belts that feed the electricity grid
Featured in the Season 1 episode “Fifteen Million Merits”, viewers were first introduced to treadmills as Bing (Daniel Kaluuya) went through his mundane daily routine. Over time, it became apparent that treadmills not only paid for a type of currency, but were also used as a power source in a dystopian futuristic setting.
The idea of using humans as a utility seems a little cruel, and as shown throughout the episode, the riders weren’t treated particularly well. However, the idea of a reusable power source using a dedicated force of volunteer participants is an attractive alternative. If made in a much more humane way, human-powered treadmills could very well be the energy source of the future.
8) Truly virtual game
black mirror has promoted video game technology several times throughout its history. In “Striking Vipers,” viewers saw the possibility of interchangeable avatars that blur the lines between fantasy and reality. “Playtest” took the concept of virtual reality and gave it a much more grounded concept, putting Cooper through what felt like a very time-consuming journey in seconds.
Virtual reality is a popular niche in gaming, but there’s still a long way to go for the genre to truly find its footing. If properly tested and run according to safety protocols, the technology featured in “Playtest” would be an instant success in the real world, with users playing through a realistic simulation in seconds in real time.
In the second episode of season 4, “Arkangel” told how an idea with good intentions could be exploited and used for nefarious purposes. The concept of a device that allows a user to monitor their child comes from the idea of security and peace of mind. But as viewers saw, the device opened the door to a totalitarian style of parenting that bordered on obsession.
What if Arkangel was used for pets instead of children? Taking the concept and using it to monitor animals unable to effectively communicate their discomfort would be more useful than using it as an intrusive monitoring device.
6) Real Life Blocking
Taking a real concept and running with its impact is a common theme in black mirror. “White Christmas” focused on the idea of blocking one person and used that as a shocking plot ending in the episode. Performed by actor Jon Hammmain character Matt Porter finally faces the consequences of his actions and is unable to physically interact with another person.
If possibly honed with a more deft touch, Real Blocking could be an invaluable tool against stalkers and other predators. Creating a more permanent sentence would certainly be a more effective deterrent to heinous behavior.
5) Clones of loved ones
The Season 2 premiere episode, “Be Right Back,” tells the story of a woman mourning the loss of her beloved partner. Thanks to the amazing and seemingly sound technology, Martha (Hayley Atwell) was able to be with Ash again (Domhnall Gleeson). Throughout the episode, Martha begins to learn that Ash was no longer the same and that it was impossible to truly replace who she had lost.
In typical Black Mirror fashion, it was heartbreaking to see Martha come to directing. But you could say it was a very useful tool to help her through the grief. Instead of completely clinging to the past, she was able to (sort of) move on.
Killer nano-bees that can attack anyone with a simple Twitter hashtag, what’s not to love about that? “Hated In A Nation” showed the power of an anonymous online mob and the consequences that online attacks can have. In the episode, London is plunged into a city-wide panic as deadly attacks continue. It is only at the very end that Internet users who participated in the hashtag suffer the same fate as those they wanted to harm.
But what if a fleet of command-controlled nanobots could be used for good? Instead of using expensive equipment, farmers could simply type in a command and have the bots plant seeds. Thousands of nano-bees could even be used as litter patrollers in a major city, picking up discarded trash. If harnessed for good, the technology would have endless possibilities.
3) Reminder of witnesses
“Crocodile” took a very simple story and added a very typical story black mirror turn. In this episode, investigators gain access to a device that puts normal polygraphers to shame. The device can display a person’s visual memories. Mia Nolan (Andrea Riseborough) learns the hard way that there is no escape from his past.
Applied to real-life practices, the device would prove invaluable for investigations in obscure or confusing circumstances. The days of unreliable testimonies would be over and replaced by an indisputable record of what happened.
2) “Relive the glory days”
“San Junipero” is a favorite for many black mirror Fans. The story of a budding relationship with a flair for the nostalgic 80s struck a chord with viewers. In atypical black mirror mode, “San Junipero” showcased the benefits of cutting-edge technology as the twist was revealed at the end of the episode. Kelly (Gugu Mbatha Raw) was able to ease his happier and healthier youth with Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis).
Technology for reliving the past can be a slippery slope, but it would be a rewarding experience for those who wish to remember their past life. For the elderly and infirm, the idea of a virtual time machine would prove a source of joy in times of need.
1) “Full Memory Recall”
Like the technology used in “Crocodile”, “The Whole Story of You” also focused on memory. However, this device allows the user to view anything from the past, no matter how small. Liam Foxwell (Toby Kebbell) learns throughout the episode that certain stones are best not turned over. He was unable to face what he already suspected.
As the episode shows, there are consequences to always recording daily life, but do they outweigh the possible benefits? Consider the practical application for those who suffer from memory loss. This device would be a complete game changer. Even on a smaller scale, users would be able to remember minute details they might have viewed. Worries about lost keys would be a relic of the past.
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