Black Mirror and monitoring: the future and the most real fiction
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Black Mirror and monitoring: how it is linked to fiction
At this point of the series-junkie revolution of the last couple of years, who has not already seen the great ones? The Sopranos, Lost, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones… are some of them and there is one that is more related to what concerns us today: Black Mirror. You have heard about it, right? That TV show, created by Charlie Brooker, whose plot deals with how and to what level technology affects us, sometimes bringing out the worst in us. But how are Black Mirror and monitoring related?
Each episode has a different approach and scenarios, but they always address the immediacy of technology and its influence on us. It works as a mixture of The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected, which explains our current discomfort with what could be expected in the future if we deal with technology with little ethics. Among all the themes that the series approaches, we especially love the ones closest to monitoring. Because, while they make our hair stand on end, they also help us to get a glimpse of how monitoring works and what its powerful qualities are. We are going to review two specific episodes that focus on the Black Mirror and monitoring topic to see what we can learn from them.
Black mirror and monitoring: Hated in the Nation – Season 3, episode 6
We go to the most recent news with a thriller whose goal is to reveal a series of murders. Karin Parke (actually, Kelly Macdonald, the girl who gets involved with Renton in the legendary Trainspotting) is a detective who, together with her expert partner in technology, tries to solve murders, which seem to have no explanation, of certain people who have been criticized and vilified on social media. Does it ring a bell? It sounds just like criticizing non-stop on social media, right? Well, as the plot progresses, several circumstances that we currently believe to be impossible are revealed, but they could actually be part of the future.
Broadly speaking, the episode deals with the possibility that, through a hashtag (“#DeathTo“), affiliates to social media can vote who deserves to die for having insulted their honor or having offended them. Those who get more votes in the episode are those who end up dying. This case sounds interesting, right? Let’s say, for example, that everyone gets mad at Taylor Swift for dissing Kanye West and she wins this contest and appears dead the next morning. “How?”, these detectives would ask. Well you see, there is a whole fleet of robot bees, which at first are used to replace those that are currently disappearing, but the villain of the episode hacks and uses them for his own purposes. That is it, the villain guy hacks the robotic bee that pollinates the garden closest to the scapegoat and “BAM!”, lethal sting, self-destruction, and nobody knows how it happened.
From here we cannot give a solution to those people who gather to hate from home in any social network, and no one can be held responsible if one day they come together, far from the virtual scene, and undertake the killing of those people who have offended them, the thin-skinned, but we can talk in favor of monitoring. The real problem with these bandit robotic bees is that their monitoring is not good.
Why not provide them with a type of sensor that allows the robot apicultor (or robot bee manager) to monitor their hives from a computer or from a mobile device? This specific bee control would allow us to receive in real time information about them (including where they are or where they have been) with the possibility of intervening right at the time you are warned by a circumstance alarm. Because it is obvious that this type of monitoring would also reveal any type of danger or external control to which they are subjected. In fact, this is already done with bees (not robotic ones) at present.
We want to think that after the success of this episode, the fictitious company of the plot has learned from its mistakes and took action on the matter. It will not happen again.
Black mirror and monitoring: Arkangel – Season 4, episode 2
Let’s go for the bothersome super parents, those who jump rope with the longest umbilical cord in the world and with which they strangle their poor children.
“Arkangel” is the name of the episode and also of the company of the plot responsible for the chip that parents implant their children for things, as viable for a crazy father as tracking, controlling, or pixelating the images that they think would cause them anguish.
On this occasion, it is Marie, the single most control-freak mother in the world, who had that technology implanted on her daughter Sara, poor Sara. At first, this technology seems to be useful, but we will soon realize that an excess of love and supervision can become an obstacle with ethical and vital connotations. Nobody learns to ride a bicycle if we always hold it from the back.
In this case of Black Mirror and monitoring, we can feel the effects of the excess of control. As we already know, no extreme is stable and we advise nobody to turn to them in monitoring, which is useful to solve technological problems in the work environment and regarding staff, but could be uncomfortable when dealing with the privacy of the individual.
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