On the surface, Black Mirror is an exploration of the many ways technology dominates our lives. Ostensibly set in the near future or an alternative reality in the present (depending on the narrative of the episode), the show has managed to do something astounding – even for an inventive, well-made television series – Black Mirror predicts the future. It's actually a bit disquieting how spot-on some of its prophetic storylines have been.
Science fiction often takes place within the realm of possibility, and many sci-fi works have proven to be more than a little foreboding. But it's often taken years, decades even, for these predictions to play out. Black Mirror, on the other hand, has only been on the air for three seasons, and yet, some of the series's most outlandish predictions have already come true. What other prophecies might the show have in store for us?
In the meantime, marvel at a dozen instances in which Black Mirror predicted the future, and make sure to vote up the eeriest real-world parallels.
Social Media's Perception Of Who We Are Influences Our Lives
We all want approval on some level. This is just a part of being human. But social media is allowing us to take this need to new and potentially unhealthy places. Getting likes and follows can be consuming to the point of illness for some people.
This is reflected in the Black Mirror episode "Nosedive," in which Lacie's (Bryce Dallas Howard) view of herself and the world becomes so warped because of social media approval that she ends up on the brink of insanity.
Samsung's recent patenting of a contact lens with an integrated camera seems straight out of the Black Mirror playbook. In the Season 1 episode "The Entire History of You," people use their camera-equipped contact lenses to record every life experience. Later, they replay notable events to analyze for signals and messages they may have missed the first time around.
Samsung might actually make this a reality sooner than we think.
Hackers Blackmail People They've Hacked
A particularly memorable Black Mirror episode, "Shut Up and Dance," features a group of unknown hackers who blackmail people into performing dangerous activities. At the time of airing, we couldn't have known that Russian hackers had compromised key American leaders and institutions, potentially including the voting system.
And more than one report has suggested that Trump is being blackmailed by Russia as well. Time will tell just how prophetic this Black Mirror entry turns out to be.
Technology Turns Users Into Virtual Avatars
News of the latest iPhone recently took the world by storm. Among its features is the ability to scan a user's face and then turn that face into a virtual avatar, called an Animoji. This technology harkens back to "The Waldo Moment," an episode of Black Mirror in which a cartoon character takes on a life of his own.
In response to the Animojis announcement, Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker tweeted, "If Apple really is using Black Mirror as inspiration for future products, I think we're all in trouble when season four launches."