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Top 10 Black Mirror Storylines That Could Actually Happen

VO: Richard Bush WRITTEN BY: Alex Harvey
Written by Alex Harvey Thanks Charlie Brooker, now we’re totally terrified of the future! Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten Black Mirror storylines that could actually happen. For this list we’re looking at the core ideas from “Black Mirror” episodes that seem most relevant and feel like they could happen very soon. So whilst several episodes might explore killer technology, we’re focussing on the most plausible plotlines, only. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Black Mirror Storylines That Could Actually Happen


Thanks Charlie Brooker, now we’re totally terrified of the future! Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten Black Mirror storylines that could actually happen.

For this list we’re looking at the core ideas from “Black Mirror” episodes that seem most relevant and feel like they could happen very soon. So whilst several episodes might explore killer technology, we’re focussing on the most plausible plotlines, only.

#10: “White Christmas” (2014)

Brooker explores quite a few ideas in this festive favourite, including in-eye cameras and augmented reality which enables people to block others from their vision, in real time. However, here we’re focusing on a unique take on the harnessing of AI. In this episode Matt, played by Jon Hamm, creates artificial copies of his client’s consciousness and enslaves the extracted beings to run ‘smart’ homes. Whilst that may feel like overkill, we already have Siri and Alexa... so how long before someone figures out how to create an algorithm that mimics our own personalities?

#9: “Hang The DJ” (2017)

Throughout this episode it seems that the story focuses on a couple, played by Georgina Campbell and Joe Cole, trying to establish a relationship in a totalitarian state, where “the system” dictates who can date and how long for. However it’s eventually revealed that the pair are merely part of a huge dating app simulation compiling their compatibility data. Once again, it’s the idea of our personalities being extracted and translated into data and algorithms. Seeing as websites already track our buying and viewing habits, the concept of our key personality traits being used to predict the outcome of social encounters doesn’t seem such a stretch.

#8: “Hated In The Nation” (2016)

There are two significant ideas for future tech explored in this episode: Killer robot bees, and social media being used to condemn people and decide their fate. We’re focusing on the bee-free one. Here, hated celebrities are killed off by those bees, as part of a hacker’s “Game of Consequences”, in which the public votes - via social media trends - for an unlikable person to be killed. Considering all the social damage and emotional trauma that social media can already cause, it doesn’t really seem that far fetched that the virtual violence could eventually escalate and evolve into something as terrifying as “#DeathTo”.

#7: “Fifteen Million Merits” (2011)

The notion of humans acting as batteries has been explored in science fiction before, but not in this way. By helping to power the building via stationary cycling, Daniel Kaluuya’s protagonist, Bing, earns merits which allow him to eat, and shape his lifestyle choices. All in, the episode serves as straight up satire on our current relationship with “freemium” entertainment, creating feedbacks of desire that keep us coming back for more - with the soulless, stationary bicycles rounding off the metaphor. But, when Bing rebels, he becomes a celebrity by doing so, and so becomes further integrated within the system. Come on people, let’s get off those bikes!

#6: “Shut Up And Dance” (2016)

To a really simple but effective horror/thriller idea. Much like the episode “The National Anthem” (where an internet troll manipulates the main character into doing awful things) this episode plays on the now well-established fear that our own technology is being used to spy on us and leak sensitive information. Kenny, portrayed by Alex Lawther, is caught in a compromising position via his webcam, and is subsequently blackmailed into things like armed robbery, by internet trolls. We won’t spoil the ending, it’s a doozy, but the darker side of surveillance culture certainly shows itself.

#5: “The Waldo Moment” (2013)

Following the 2016 US election and subsequent scandals, some might argue that some aspects of this episode have already happened. Waldo, an animated bear from a late night comedy show, runs for office in a local election to boost his show’s popularity. Quickly, his abrasive, antagonistic attitude towards prominent politicians and his outrageous behaviour makes him a hit with voters, which draws the attention of a sinister group wanting to turn Waldo into a face for global branding. Clearly some comparisons might be made with a certain President Trump, but the overall message goes further still - warning against global politics becoming a garish circus.

#4: “The Entire History Of You” (2011)

This one could be extremely useful, particularly for recording valuable information that might be forgotten. But, it’s also certain to end a fair few relationships. In “The Entire History of You”, people have the ability to record their memories and play them back like a movie. Unfortunately for Liam, played by Toby Kebbell, after watching too many memories, he suspects that his child might not be his, kickstarting a downward and increasingly paranoid spiral. People are already recording and displaying their lives on the internet, just spend 30 seconds on Instagram, so it could be just a small step before the technology becomes smaller, easier to use and even more thorough. For better, or worse.

#3: “Playtest” (2016)

Brooker has experimented with VR ideas in other episodes like “USS Callister”, “Crocodile” and “San Junipero”, but it’s this episode that feels most believable. “Playtest” sees Cooper experiencing an augmented reality video game that takes place in his mind, but with sinister results. Things like “Pokemon Go” already allow us to experience augmented reality, whilst VR games have increased in popularity in recent years... Now we just need to combine the two and merge the human brain itself into the technology and voila, a new gaming phenomenon... or, as this episode seems to suggest, a neverending nightmare.

#2: “Arkangel” (2017)

It’s that augmented reality again. Only this time, it’s been expertly - if creepily - implemented into a child security device. The Arkangel Child Monitoring System allows a mother to not only track her daughter, but also actively censor anything she deems unsuitable for children - blood, violence or drugs for example. Who’s to say whether this would stunt us all emotionally? Or how easy it would be to become free of it? And in this episode, the device’s very existence becomes more and more problematic as the daughter grows up. What with fitness trackers capturing our biometric data and phones allegedly already being tracked... real-time censorship like this feels not too far away.

#1: “Nosedive” (2016)

We finish with an episode which already feels depressingly real - even now. In “Nosedive”, Bryce Dallas Howard’s Lacie lives in a world where your socioeconomic status is solely determined by how highly other people rate you. And it’s clear to see what a bad idea it really is. Unfolding amidst a Big Brother state where everyone watches and is at each other’s mercy, you spend the entire episode willing Lacie to break free - but fearing that she never will. And back in the real world, it feels only a matter of time before this superficial dystopia of insincerity becomes a disturbing, everyday truth.
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