Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Black Mirror - the side effects of the drug called "Technology"

You always look for triggers to write... and sometimes you need something really strong to jolt you out of a writer's block... or should I call it a blogger's block! If you're wondering what my trigger was... well it was a TV anthology series called "Black Mirror". The name probably doesn't suggest a lot, but a Wikipedia Search helped me understand that the title refers to the many black shiny surfaces we come across in our daily lives... smart phones, tablets, laptops, TV screens, etc. The devices that seem to control more and more of our lives, each day, every day...

"Black Mirror" is a British science-fiction series that dwells on modern society in the near future and the possibilities galore brought upon by technological advancements - unexpected consequences you may call them.

Working in a pharmaceutical company, a particular comment from the series creator, Charlie Brooker, caught my attention - "If technology is a drug, then what precisely are the side effects?" Tech companies for long now have been working on technologies that can make the world a healthier and better place to live, but such a comparison between "tech" & "drug" was quite intriguing... so I watched the series to get a sense of what Brooker meant by "side effects" and the area between "delight and discomfort". If I were to summarize my critique of the series in brief... it's the most believable sci-fi I have ever seen and having said that, it's a bit frightening. The series brings up riveting issues and each time leaving you thinking...that could happen...Read on to get a feeler of what the future may behold, at least as per "Black Mirror" and I couldn't debate much....

Social Media
With interesting takes on the power of social media, it highlights how it could influence simple things such as the press and their decisions to far reaching impacts such as recreating the dead from their online social & multimedia history. So, how different would your reincarnation be from the dead YOU? I guess that depends on how true you were about yourself on social media...Freaky? No? You decide! If you thought we worry about social status too much today... you're in for a surprise. Imagine yourself being scored on a social scale every moment of every day...imagine it altering human behavior towards you and society at large.

We all love Reality TV don't we... so much so that we may end up not realizing how real is "real". And even if it were real, maybe our mad thirst for entertainment could lead us to a horrifying realization that even individual suffering serves as wonderful entertainment. Imagine the future of convict imprisonment and dealing out justice, or should I say "entertainment"? "Ring any bells..."Hunger Games", "The Condemned", "The Truman Show"...

Mind Control
You thought hypnosis was frightening - how about people entering your mind....no, they won't see what's there; only you will... sighing with relief? I'm not too sure if even you want to explore the depths of your own mind - technology triggering your own worst memories. What do you think? You love scary roller coasters that make your hair stand on its ends... well you'll love the future of gaming then....like they say, our worst fears are in our own minds. Ever thought about its impacts on high tech warfare - yes, there's more to worry about than chemical bombs.

The Past & The Future
Wouldn't you love to revisit the past? I know time travel doesn't sound like the near future and as far as I'm concerned, I've dropped its possibilities in my lifetime. But I'm not talking about time travel. How about reliving the past like watching a movie, shot through your own eyes... sounds great doesn't it... there are side effects remember. Maybe you're not a person to dwell on the past...are you among those who think even a 100 years of living is not enough...and you wish to immortalize yourself like god. Medicine couldn't do it, though we have been extending life expectancy.... but what if you had tech that could just let you live better in a new world - a supercomputer world? Sounds kick ass doesn't it... ask around... see what others say?

Of course, this blog and Black Mirror are just the tip of the iceberg. We probably tell many of our loved ones that their gadgets and the Internet have taken over them but soon after we ourselves are immersed in online shopping or solution googling. The fact is that the world shall continue to become a smaller place - true globalization, and we may need to embrace it. However, prepare for the sea-change possibilities that innovative technology may bring our ways - many that may look "safe, necessary and supportive" on the face of it but quite "dangerous, self serving and debilitating" down below.

Any other crazy but possible future side effects of technology coming to your mind?

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