Released worldwide in 2011, Black Mirror is a fictional show that fastly gained a public audience and became a concept within time. With scary and innovative technologies and their impacts on human society, it became known for its shocking episodes.
With four seasons so far, the show teaches us a lot about both humanity and technological evolution – more specifically, what a human being can achieve with machines. By mixing ethics, criticism, utopia, and science, Black Mirror changed our minds.
The reality is that some technologies presented on Black Mirror are already found in real life! Continue reading to learn more.
This is so Black Mirror
You have surely already heard or read the expression “this is so Black Mirror”. This is one of the hallmarks of the show since it created metaphors using our reality and technology.
The fun thing is: some technologies presented in Black Mirror may seem scary and too far from reality, but they already exist!
A lot has changed in the last six years, and now we can see that the TV show actually gave us a spoiler of what the next technologies were that humanity would release during this decade.
1: Virtual characters (The Waldo Moment)
The Waldo Moment is one of the most-watched Black Mirror episodes and there is a reason for that: it shows how virtual characters may have the power to change society by influence.
In this episode, we are face to face with the power of metaverse. Waldo, a virtual character, becomes an influencer and starts to gain followers. With that power, he starts to ascend as a politician, joining interviews and running for the presidency.
Even if we don’t have a Waldo, the metaverse is already a reality and virtual characters are already common. Some brands are creating influencers that don’t exist in real life, such as Nike, Decentraland and Sandbox.
Mark Zuckerberg has plans to open Meta’s first retail store with metaverse-related products and affirm:
“The best way to understand virtual reality is to experience it.”
2: Crocodile – Autonomous delivers
When you order something, the expectation is to receive the product some minutes later, delivered by a person. Yet, in the episode called Crocodile, we can see a technological van that doesn’t need a driver to work.
Even if the automatic pilot already exists, it is uncommon to see a delivery service consisting only of machines. Yet, this is a technology you can already find in Black Mirror scenes.
In reality, Pizza Hut collaborated with Toyota and developed their first fully autonomous delivery van. Called e-palette, the vehicle is able to move by itself. Yet, the plan is to improve the technology and make it cook the order while driving to deliver it.
3: Nosedive – People evaluation
Nosedive was one of the most shocking episodes of the show and left a lot of people thinking about their technological habits.
In a society in which all the interactions among people are rated between 1 and 5, citizens have access to services according to their rate. In this episode, one of the characters tells the protagonist that her husband died from cancer because they couldn’t access good treatment at a low rate.
As far as it may seem from reality, the episode shows a society structured around numbers and ratings. In 2022, we have many technologies based on ratings, such as Uber, Airbnb, GlassDoor, and others.
Even if people don’t lose their rights because of a rating, the spectacular society is all-around numbers. A lot of apps are based on this technology to guarantee security, but also to exclude those that aren’t accepted.
4: Hated in the Nation – RoboBees
In Black Mirror, bees are used to kill people through a hashtag. With the hashtag #DeathTo, everyone has the ability to nominate a person and the person with the most-nominations would be killed by drones shaped like bees.
In real life, RoboBees are already a thing (but they are used for the right reasons) After more than a decade, Harvard University researchers developed a drone that would be able to fly like bees, as this bug is facing extinction.
Nowadays, we have some RoboBees that can fly and even do surveillance on the species, and the final goal is artificial pollination – with the real bees facing extinction, the essential role of this bug will be made by robots.
5: Be Right Back – Artificial Intelligence
Robots are a reality and this isn’t new anymore. Yet, in the Black Mirror episode called Be Right Back, robots are created with artificial intelligence in order to act like people that are no longer here.
The protagonist decides to use this technology to replicate the girlfriend that died some years ago, and we can follow this story during the episode.
In reality, we have Hanson Robotics which creates robots with artificial intelligence that can replicate a real personality. The owner of the company, Martine Rothblatt, actually created a robot with his wife’s memories and feelings.
As scary as it may sound, chatbots and robots that replicate real humans are out there – and the amount of them will onlyh increase in the coming years.
Bonus: what is still being developed
Even if some Black Mirror technologies already exist, science never stops and there are already others being developed right now.
- The entire story of you: smart contact lens. In this episode, the main character is able to see his whole life with a special contact lens. In reality, we have different kinds of smart lenses being studied:
- Samsung is developing a lens that is able to take pics every time one blinks;
- Mojo Lens is developing a lens for augmented reality that is still on the test phase.
- White Christmas: the smart home. In this Black Mirror episode, the protagonists are able to control all of the houses only with their minds. Nowadays we have smart options such as Alexa, but science is still working with neural waves to develop something controlled by thought.
Those are the most popular Black Mirror technologies that you can already find in real life. Even if it may appear scary at a first sight, we look forward to seeing what technology will bring us in the next decades.
Have you ever seen any other Black Mirror’s technology in real life? Let us know!