If there’s one thing that the Netflix original Black Mirror does exceptionally well, it is getting the darkest places of the watcher’s mind and taking advantage of our subconscious fears. The first episode of the new (fourth) season takes us to Infinity, a game that uses a person’s DNA to create a copy of their existence and input it into the data frame. Fun as this may seem for gamers everywhere, Black Mirror shows us the dark possibilities that this type of technology can have.
The creator of Infinity, Robert Daley, is easily angered, and when somebody ticks him off he steals a sample of their DNA in order to create a copy of them inside his video game. Though Daley is powerless in the real world to get back at those who offend him, in his game he is akin to God. Black Mirror is expounding on the biggest fear of our age in this episode: the fear of technology. In this age of information, where anything is available to anyone with the click of a mouse, where cameras constantly record our movements, where search engines, music streaming services, and social media digests your likes and dislikes in order to feed you personalized experiences, and where Artificial Intelligence is constantly being expanded by governments and companies, it is easy to see why Black Mirror would use this topic to thrill and scare viewers. As we exist in this age, there is rarely a moment that technology isn’t a factor in our everyday actions. Technology has made life easier and more entertaining, but this constant usage has inputted into the minds of people the idea that: “there is no life without technology, technology and living are one and the same.” As the lines between reality and virtual reality become more unclear, a new set of fears arise for the tech. The user, fears that will likely grow as the likelihood of a digital age become inevitable. I’m sure Black Mirror will continue to engage watchers by capitalizing on this fear, as will cinema and TV streaming services alike.