As Black Mirror turns 10, how well did it predict the future? | Television

NOTNext week, Black Mirror will be ten years old. During that time, it went from a weird little British anthology show to a worldwide hit, spawning endless shoddy imitators in its wake. However, perhaps his greatest legacy was his incredible ability to tell stories about things that would later become reality. But has every episode of Black Mirror successfully predicted the future? Below is each episode ranked from least to most prescient.

23. Bandersnatch – special 2018

In which someone tried to make a video game in the 1980s. The technology to make computer games in the 1980s, uh, existed in the 1980s. It wasn’t Black Mirror in its most Black form Mirror-east.

22. Rachel, Jack and Ashley too – series five, episode three

Featuring Miley Cyrus, this episode saw singer Ashley O’s personality get trapped inside a toy, Ashley Too. You can buy a 2008 Hannah Montana Christmas doll on eBay for around £20. Buyer beware though: it’s unlikely to contain the actual soul of Miley Cyrus.

Child’s play… Miley Cyrus had her soul imprisoned in a doll in Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too. Picture: Netflix

21. White Christmas – Special 2014

Jon Hamm starred in this episode, in which chips were implanted in people’s brains that “blocked” unwanted people by scrambling them. Nothing to see here. Sometimes even the awful world of big tech knows when something is a bad idea.

20. Archangel – series four, episode two

Another episode of Black Mirror, another chip. This time, a mother placed one in her daughter’s brain to watch over her as a child and conveniently left it there, allowing her to see through her eyes. Another terrible idea that has yet to be implemented.

19. Men Against Fire – series three, episode five

More tokens. This time the soldiers were implanted with microprocessors that dehumanized their enemies. Such chips do not exist, although soldiers have learned to dehumanize their enemies without technology for hundreds of years.

18. Polar Bear – second series, episode two

In which a prisoner has her memory erased so she can be hunted for sport on a game show. Fortunately, this one did not materialize, although two years after it aired, Channel 4 launched Hunted, a series in which members of the public are chased across the country for money. type of come?

17.Smithereens – series five, episode two

A man learned that social media could be bad. We’ve known that for a decade and a half already – keep going.

16. Shut up and dance – series three, episode three

Online blackmail definitely predates Black Mirror, although to be honest they are increasingly complex, like the one seen in this episode.

15. Game Test – series three, episode two

OK, maybe we’re getting somewhere now. In Playtest, a neural network video game learned players’ personal fears. It doesn’t exist yet, but that doesn’t mean the developers aren’t trying.

14. USS Callister – series four, episode one

An embittered programmer has tortured sentient digital avatars based on his real-life colleagues. It all seemed absurd until Mark Zuckerberg started talking about the Metaverse — now, that’s probably a few years away.

USS Callister black mirror.
It all seemed absurd… USS Callister. Photography: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

13. Hated in the Nation – series three, episode six

In this Nordic noir-inspired episode, robotic bees killed people who used certain hashtags. Last year, scientists created robot bees to help pollinate flowers. Hopefully the hashtag thing will come soon.

12. Metalheads – series four, episode five

In which a killer robot mercilessly hunted down a terrified woman. Boston Dynamics already makes similar robots that can dance really well – which is even scarier.

11. Crocodiles – series four, episode three

The chips came back and this time they recorded our subjective memories. Scary, this technology actually predates the episode; in 2014, a group of scientists used neuroimaging methods to reconstruct human faces from the memories of their subjects.

ten. Your whole story – first series, episode three

Back in the third episode of Black Mirror, series creator and co-showrunner Charlie Brooker and co have imagined a reality where people are implanted with – you guessed it – chips, which record everything their owners say and hear, allowing them to torture themselves and others by replaying their memories. Thankfully, those chips don’t exist, but an alternative could be near: in 2019, Samsung was granted a patent to develop technology for a smart contact lens capable of recording video.

9. Black Museum – series four, episode six

In which a machine allowed people to feel the pain of others. It hasn’t happened yet, but in the last year scientists have come closer to making robots that can feel pain, which is somehow a lot more terrifying.

Black mirror black museum.
Robots that can feel pain… Black Museum. Photography: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

8. Hang the DJ – series four, episode four

This twisted romantic comedy introduced us to a dating app that guaranteed perfect compatibility, but also told you when your current relationship would end. There is no perfect compatibility, of course. However, this year saw the launch of Birdy, a dating app where, rather than swiping photos, users are matched with people who have free Myers-Briggs personality test results.

7. Be Right Back – series two, episode one

In Be Right Back, a grieving woman bought a robot that looked and sounded like her deceased boyfriend. Again, thankfully, that didn’t happen. However, in 2017, a woman named Eugenia Kuyda invented the Roman Bot. This AI program fed text messages written by her deceased best friend into a neural network, giving her vocabulary and speech patterns, so she could continue to communicate with him from beyond the grave. The robot is therefore perhaps not far away.

6. San Junipero – series three, episode four

This pastel-colored 80s paradise has indeed turned out to be a simulated reality intended for the elderly to remind them of their youth. Meet Rendever, a company founded five years ago to help older people combat social isolation through virtual reality ‘reminiscence therapy’ that allows them to revisit their childhood home or wedding venue .

“A pastel-colored paradise”… Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis in San Junipero. Picture: Netflix

5. Striking Vipers – series five, episode one

Two friends played a video game with a twist: it let them sleep together. Check out Viro Playspace, a “haptic virtual social space” where, using Bluetooth-enabled adult toys, VR users can virtually meet and have sex. One experience offered in Viro Playspace is “bi first time”, which may closely mirror the plot of the episode.

4. Fifteen million merits – series one, episode two

Daniel Kaluuya starred in the second episode of Black Mirror, in which members of the public earned money (in the form of “merits”) by riding stationary bikes that produced electricity. A year after the broadcast, inmates at a Brazilian prison were offered a day off every time they spent eight hours pedaling bicycles hooked up to generators. Additionally, pre-orders are now open for a new exercise bike that can generate electricity for the home. The Re:Gen, we’re promised, can charge 14 iPhones in a single hour’s drive.

3. Nose dive – series three, episode one

Mike Schur and Rashida Jones were behind this 2016 episode, in which social interactions were given an Uber-style rating. In 2018, the Chinese government began testing a “social credit” system in several major cities. The system punishes citizens who commit “untrustworthy” breaches of etiquette – like playing music on trains, cheating on exams, failing to show up for restaurant reservations or refusing to visit elderly parents – anchoring points from their records. Enough pegged dots and you can be punished with anything from an airline blacklist to limited internet speeds.

Antisocial media... Bryce Dallas Howard in Nosedive.
Antisocial media… Bryce Dallas Howard in Nosedive. Photography: David Dettmann/David Dettmann/Netflix

2. The national anthem – first series, first episode

In 2015, an unauthorized biography claimed that, as part of his initiation into the Piers Gaveston Society at Oxford University, David Cameron once inserted an intimate part of his anatomy into the mouth of a dead pig. No corroborating evidence has been offered and the story has been denied, but it is nonetheless a chilling coincidence that the very first episode of Black Mirror concerned a British Prime Minister who was blackmailed into having sex with a pig.

1. The Waldo Moment – series two, episode three

This episode saw a lighthearted entertainer become the figurehead of a cynical populist political movement. Boris Johnson was elected British Prime Minister on July 24, 2019.