A blog experiment by Brad Mills.


Black Mirror as a cautionary tale

There's a series I've discovered on Netflix called Black Mirror. It is fantastic. It's best summed up as a Twilight Zone for the modern era, and it explores the technological and existential horrors of today's world, touching on topics like social ranking impacting real world interactions and vice versa, reaching the afterlife through technological means, constant surveillance and how it can be abused, and other topics in similar veins. It's right up my alley, in other words, and eminently believable.

I think we're moving too fast sometimes. We have incredible technology literally in our pockets and it can be both used and abused. There are companies out there pushing these devices because they're products, and the more products they get out there, the more money they make. And there are other companies out there pushing platforms and software, because those things are used for mining our personal data, and the more personal data they can collect, the more tailored and customized will be the advertising we are subjected to. This is also very much a profit-driven venture. And as long as the money is flowing, it won't stop.

We, the consumers, aren't stopping either. Everyone gets the new iThing even if the improvements over the old iThing are marginal. We gladly provide our personal data because our "friends" do too, and it's a way to "make connections". And we get notified when someone sends a message or comments on something we said, and we respond in kind, and on and on. Is there any deliberate thought behind any of it, or are we just pushing buttons and feeding data into an algorithm? Are we really connecting, or are we just linking records together in a database?

Maybe it's just me, but I feel people are not supposed to relate to one another with button clicks and linking their database records together.

Anyway... Black Mirror. I like it. It's got me thinking about the path we're all on, and how we seem to keep marching blindly along it. Just a few more episodes and I'm caught up on the entire series until the new season starts later this year. Given that people are most likely going to keep futzing around on Facebook, the chances of these cautionary tales having a positive impact are probably pretty low. Rather ironic, I think... but also part of the appeal, as it's circling very closely to the truth.

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