You open an app. Boom – you black out, and 30 minutes later you're out of breath, everyone's trying to kill you, the modern world is falling apart, and your phone charger has somehow become sentient. That's basically the premise of every Black Mirror episode. Charlie Brooker's sci fi anthology series is known for its insane, horrifying technology, but what else would you expect from a show that's literally named after our bleak reflections staring back at us from our turned-off iPhones?
The gadgets from Black Mirror are at the center of the high-tech, dystopian worlds that have made the series a critical and audience darling. It's a future where morality is questionable, empathy is often forced, and those who break free of societal norms are always, always punished. But there's usually a distant glimmer of hope, at least in the idea of a digital afterlife (albeit you might have to suffer through a lifetime of tech-fueled hell and a few nips from a robot dog before you get there).
Despite the bleak outlook, Black Mirror is brimming with good tech. If there's anything the show has taught us, it's that the destructive technology isn't inherently evil – it can't be. It's the people behind it who spiral into places so depraved and dismal that the dark web looks like YouTube for kids. Like anything, it's surgically implanted into the eye of the beholder... and uploaded for the world to see.
The tech from Black Mirror that should be real usually helps users in more practical ways – from remembering that homework to preparing them for the fact that their Tinder date is probably going to be a major bust. It all may seem like the product of a distant future, but, somewhat alarmingly, the technology from Black Mirror is right around the corner.
Here's a look at all the technology in Black Mirror – the useful devices , the dystopian disasters, and everything in between. Vote up the ideas that seem most dystopian, vote down the ones that you wouldn't mind seeing around, and when you're all done, check out even more shows like Black Mirror.
Season 2, episode 2, "White Bear"
This tiny headband erases an entire day's worth of someone's memory. In the case of "White Bear," it's used to continuously punish a woman for her involvement in a horrific crime.559107Does this spell dystopia?
Season 4, episode 6, "Black Museum"
This technology allows you to transfer your consciousness into another entity, be it a human or an inanimate object. The science isn't really explained; all we know is that Rolo Haynes uses a tube to suck out the consciousness from someone's head and inject it into something else (a human, a stuffed toy, a hologram – the sky is the limit).
In the episode, the technology helps a comatose woman share her husband's body, which makes his head rather noisy. Thankfully, the technology also allows you to pause the other consciousness, which he does for several weeks. The woman is eventually transferred inside of an inanimate toy monkey that can only say "Monkey loves you" or "Monkey needs a hug."
There's one more layer to this advanced technology. It can be used to create a copy of a consciousness which can be transferred to a hologram simulation. The consciousness can feel pain, but it's not necessarily the original conscious because it can be copied and stored in innumerable places.Yes, it's complicated.612136Does this spell dystopia?
Season 4, episode 5, "Metalhead"
These robotic dogs hunt human survivors in the dystopian future where "Metalhead" takes place. They're packed with a zillion ways to kill, smart enough to operate a car, and rely on solar energy to recharge. Despite their blocky appearance, they're also pretty agile; they can flip themselves right-side up if they're overturned.546130Does this spell dystopia?
Season 1, episode 2, "Fifteen Million Merits"
In a futuristic society where people are turned into indentured servants who pedal stationary bikes to keep the lights on, money is purely digital. Merits are essentially FarmVille coins that people get after cycling for a certain period of time. These can be exchanged for food, entry to events, and cool clothes for their avatars.504143Does this spell dystopia?