Humans and Technologies | Black Mirror

Amber Case, an American cyborg anthropologist, in her speech in Ted entitled “We are all cyborgs now”, she discussed how technology and humans are so attached to each other. She talks about how technology is a reflection of our daily lives and how cyborgs are humans themselves. It’s kind of interesting to say because of the fact that we live in a modern era. This era applies our everyday activities where the internet connects us with each other. But, there is one thing that caught a lot from the internet mainly social media. Social media, when it first appears, was useful for connecting between one another. In this era, we are living where social media itself is competition. Whether it’s competition in health way or sickness, we all compete. The question is, with whom do we compete? With ourselves and other humans.

It’s been a long time since Charlie Brooker announced the choose-your-own-adventure episode. In this episode, a concept where we as the audience participates in the story. But, this episode if I watch it again, I feel aware that we are the ones who want the entertainment. We see Stefan Butler, the main character, must be tormented little by little for our pleasure. If we aren’t satisfied, we continue to look for the timeline so that Stefan’s life could end properly. However, “Bandersnatch” emphasizes more that control could be part of the illusion and reflection of the entertainment world. We never deny that we are a part of such consolation.

The “black mirror” and the meaning

“Black Mirror” is a British science fiction anthology series written by Charlie Brooker. The show explores a concept from the illustration of modern society. In essence, it’s about us and the parts of ourselves. Each episode differs from the anthology. The setting takes place in the alternative universe, not far from the future itself. The series brings the tone in a dark and satire way. Therefore, “Black Mirror” is always considered as the modern series of “The Twilight Zone”. Both of them talked about the contemporary concept of the society itself while “The Twilight Zone” was more into horror and supernatural.

Brooke stated that “Black Mirror” will happen at any time whether you blink once and it will happen. More precisely, everything in this series is going through it. Starting from 10 minutes from now, we feel aware of it. Now, the fifth season was released a few days ago consisting of three episodes. Of course, I can’t wait to watch the fifth season in a marathon maybe. Before that too, I want to recap of this “Black Mirror” and try my best to attract attention to those who haven’t watched it.

“Black Mirror” has a simple premise that’s even difficult to explain. As with almost all the main characters in this series, they all narrate and see their reflections because of the technology. For the next 30 to 40 years, humans are getting smarter. But, what if humans are part of technology? They can develop a robot, artificial intelligence, a new gaming system, rating, and cookies. While technology is progressing, would humans be smarter? Because basically, smartphones have ruined our “intelligence”. Think about further exploitation of social media or awareness.

Charlie Brooker gets inspiration from the smartphone or computer screen. When the two technologies are turned off, there is a black reflection reflected in us. A shadow appeared on the screen. Strangely, all of them are color black. Every time we turn off computers or our phones, we are always looking at first and at the end. Then, have we all been enslaved with this technology? “Black Mirror” is a study of the causes and consequences of technological developments between people and individuals both internally and externally. Imagine where you can recount your memory one day or a year ago in “The Entire History of You“. What about the cookies system that can make humans themselves as a substitute for artificial intelligence in “White Christmas“? What about an entertainment mascot that becomes political correctness in “The Waldo Moment”?

Indeed, “Black Mirror” doesn’t always tell about the development of technology and its effects. Some episodes always discuss society behavior and us. The main characters in each episode are always being aware of the technology and trying to get out of the system. Some have succeeded, surrendered, and some have died because of resisting the rules. Then, who is their main enemy? Society? Technology? Ourselves? Actually, we never know that we don’t even want to know who the real enemy was. There is nothing we oppose, nothing we defend, and nothing we accompany. All of that is only part of exploitation, just entertainment or competitively sick.

The mirror and our reflection

There is something ironic about this one of the most phenomenal TV series, the game, and reflection. The irony was that the show’s gain their popularity while the audience was glorifying this series as well. Brooker appeared in various interviews about what exactly is “Black Mirror”. Notice the pattern here? For some reason, it’s kind of horror to say at least. the irony of this too. Reminds me of one of the nu-metal bands, Rage Against the Machine. This band criticized the government in America or around the world. But, they come out of their own ideology as part of those who criticize it.

“Black Mirror” never gives you a clear and soundly acceptable glance. Instead, expect the unexpected. Brooker left you hanging in each episode and makes you think what you’ve watched. Maybe, you would think like “I’ll be a better person” or “I often see cases like this around me”. This series is another contemporary after “Breaking Bad“, “The Wire”, “The Sopranos” and other phenomenal TV series. TV series is a golden age of television and changes the television itself to a higher level. “Black Mirror” is like a golden series for millennials but not all. Brooker said that never binge watching this series. He said that watching “Black Mirror” was like a shocked and unconscious car crash. After that, you never know what happened before.

“Black Mirror” is an anecdote. It’s more horrifying, more relatable, and more jarring than anything. It’s a series that aims to shake its audience’s feelings. Like a wrecking ball, it hits you hard yet you don’t get away. Instead, you feel deaf, blind, and awakened around. In each episode, I always go out after the end of the credits. It left me uncomfortable and keep thinking about it. When I go out and watch the crowd, this series always reminds me of this series. It’s like a dogma or doctrine. They trying your best to be more aware.

I remember watching “White Bear” while staring blankly at nothing. When I go out to buy some food, I imagined this episode and while expressing an empty look. “Black Mirror” itself could be empty, annoyed, futile, fearful, or satirical. That feeling comes after watching any of these episodes. You are afraid, crying, or feeling amazed but not proud. Then, it left me hanging with such a moral ambiguity and question. Who would we root for?

The horror! The horror!

“Black Mirror” is a horror series in another sense. Horror (noun), according to the dictionary, is an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust. In literature, this genre concerned with arousing feelings of horror. Since we live in this post-modernism era, this genre has begun to shift. People always considered mainstream horror films, which I didn’t need to mention, as the most horror film. Horror is often associated with the fear of creatures from other dimensions with a terrifying appearance. For some reason, everyone really attached to this definition while horror can be fear from the other side. Horror is the most terrifying genre especially when talking about reality. When literary works link realism with irony, it can be said to be “horror” in other words. The meaning is somewhat ambiguous for some people but this is the right way to define such the genre.

“Black Mirror” doesn’t always come out of the main concept. This series always explores the dangers of humans who use these technologies, not the danger of technology. They are always controlled, hegemony, or dehumanized and end up in the self-destruction path, destroying such a person’s life. However, this series always makes love, lost, and self-improve the main menu. All the main characters never think of the consequences. They often going forward when they try the technology. They are dominated by their egos but they can also surrender to it. But, all of that will come back to themselves as well as each of them and they finally realize that it’s too late. There is no second chance and there is no way out. Not all but also in some episodes such as “The Entire History of You”, “Shut Up and Dance“, and “Nosedive”.

The most stranger episodes of anything is the first season of “Fifteen Million Merits”. It takes place in such a dystopian world full of ambiguity yet interpretation. Although not as real as our world, the episodes portrayed our habits in the world of entertainment. We laugh, cry, and are controlled by entertainment that’s on television and on the internet. “White Bear” is more about morality in humans because basically, public shaming is one of the things we often do. In the end, do you want to enter the park or become a player in the park as well?

“Nosedive” is one of the most hit episodes in the third season or maybe of all episodes. It explores if the world is controlled by an application. Your life depends on how high your rating was. If you have a high rating then you are safe. Vice versa, a low rating will make you isolated and difficult to live. So, the main character must try to wear a smiling mask to be judged and to keep her good image. Likewise, the other characters, they must do their best to the public as best they can. In the end, her reflection on his self-innocent faces turns into an outlet after you’ve really touched on what it really is.

“Why humans are fake? Because we live in a society.” – The conclusion

“Black Mirror” is scary, horrible, and shocking. Think about your deep down feeling, anything. This series is actually not horror but is not the kind of horror you can come with. Every time you finish watching one or two episodes, you think that how close we are to the future. Because it’s not about how many friends you get on the internet or how close your relationship or connection was. It’s about competitive, fighting against each other, the rating is everything. Think about all those horrible consequences. How? Have you ever seen cases like this? Whether it’s in fiction or our reality, the fact is it happens and we have to deal with it.

It leaves you with an unsettling feeling. You know that and you know very well the facts and the reality. All people are fake because we create alter egos on the internet. Who wants to reveal their real identity and feelings? No one. As like, we feel fine but deep down in our feeling, we don’t feel fine. No one cares if you still exist. They only care if you die but they only care about the internet. Including prayer, saying “rest in peace” to his family via Facebook, or anything. In fact, no one cares.

This is not a light-hearted type of your own. It’s depressing to watch because it’s immediately showing you how real our world is. It’s like a mirror. It makes you think first how bad you are. Beware of your around but what is “Black Mirror” actually? Just watch it first and then you know it.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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