Facts About Life That Prove ‘Black Mirror’ Is Closer To Our Reality Than We Realize
Marc Gordon - August 27, 2019

Lester

By Shel Silverstein

Lester was given a magic wish
By the goblin who lives in the banyan tree,
And with his wish he wished for two more wishes-
So now instead of just one wish, he cleverly had three.
And with each one of these
He simply wished for three more wishes,
Which gave him three old wishes, plus nine new.
And with each of these twelve
He slyly wished for three more wishes,
Which added up to forty-six -- or is it fifty-two?
Well anyway, he used each wish
To wish for wishes 'til he had
Five billion, seven million, eighteen thousand thirty-four.
And then he spread them on the ground
And clapped his hands and danced around
And skipped and sang, and then sat down
And wished for more.
And more...and more...they multiplied
While other people smiled and cried
And loved and reached and touched and felt.
Lester sat amid his wealth
Stacked mountain-high like stacks of gold,
Sat and counted -- and grew old.
And then one Thursday night they found him
Dead -- with his wishes piled around him.
And they counted the lot and found that not
A single one was missing.
All shiny and new -- here, take a few
And think of Lester as you do.
In a world of apples and kisses and shoes
He wasted his wishes on wishing.
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Although the sci-fi stories of the Black Mirror TV series are intended to be fictional, they do in fact represent a certain reality of our world or at least the fact that we are on our way there – far more than we would like to believe. The unfortunate dark side of real-life technologies is shown on the show,  with certain examples so unsettling that they make us question what the future holds for us.  With just another advancement or two in technology,  we may very well find ourselves living in a real-life Black Mirror…

 

Deceased Chatbots

 

 

In the Black Mirror episode of ‘Be Right Back’ a heart-shattered woman decided to bring her dead partner back to life (as much as possible) by creating a synthetic replacement of him, using his online chat history in order to make him as real as possible.  Believe it or not, reality has it, that in 2016, Eugenia Kudya actually managed to bring her deceased best friend ‘back to life.  She collected all of his text messages and history on social media in order to create an Artificial Intelligence chatbot that was similar to her partner as could be.  Sci-fi fantasies at its finest.

 

 

Ratings On Social Status

 

 

In the Black Mirror episode ‘Nosedive’ people are defined by the ratings that they are given by others based on their actions. The higher the rating, the better the social status one is given, and the more access and opportunities one is given. Without a high enough rating, people are not capable of virtually anything.  While it sounds crazy, it’s not too far off from reality, with popular social media apps such as Instagram and Uber using ratings and likes in order to determine our status.  What hits home, even more, is China’s current development of a Social Credit System, which is intended to rate people on many aspects such as their financial situations and political views. 

 

Children Tracking

 

 

In the Black Mirror episode ‘Arkangel’ parents implant a chip into their children in order to keep track of their every move. Parents are even given the ability to blur out certain images for their children’s discretion. In the episode, a highly overprotective mother watches her daughter’s every move as she grows up, ending in a less than pleasant situation for both of them. Reality has it that many apps enable parents to track the locations of their children, and even to see what their children are looking at on the internet. Scientists at UC Berkley are also currently working on a system that allows for visual experiences to be reconstructed – although it’s still in the making, it seems uncomfortably similar to Black Mirror.

 

 

Cyberbullying

 

 

In the Black Mirror episode of ‘Shut Up and Dance’ hackers make their way into the webcam of a young boy. After spying on him and catching him doing some embarrassing things, they blackmail him into doing a variety of dangerous tasks, such as robbing a bank and even harming others. Unfortunately, cyberbullying is nothing short of a reality today, with hackers constantly stealing the personal information of innocent people. Although the episode may have been slightly dramatized, it explores the vast power hackers can obtain, and how they can ruin your life. 

 

Virtual Reality

 

 

In the Black Mirror episode ‘San Junipero’ people live their fantasies in a virtual city. People upload their brains into a computer and are then able to feel as though they are living their wildest dreams, even after death. One of the characters even chose to die in order to be with her friend in the virtual world of San Junipero.  As crazy as this may sound, Nectome, a startup is the starting stages of a service that can potentially upload minds and preserve brains. The aim of the startup is to bring back the consciousness of the dead in the future by digitalizing their brains.

 

 

Self Driving Cars

 

 

In the Black Mirror episode ”Crocodile” a self-driving pizza delivery truck crashes into a pedestrian, leading to series of unfortunate events. Regardless of whether or not you’ve seen this episode, the reality is that Toyota and Pizza Hut have recently announced that they will be launching a partnership with their first self-delivery vehicle. Furthermore, in addition, back in 2018, a self-driving Uber car killed an innocent woman, as the sensor did not sense her walking by. Automated food delivery services only continue to grow: food for thought.