Luke Clellan Dellorso
There have always been and will always be conversations regarding our use of technology and social media, and its subsequent effects on us as humans. While we have witnessed myriad amazing as well as disdaining things happen as a result of social media use, we have not seen a society change in its entirety.
The statement that society has changed greatly as a result of social media use is a fair argument, but, I am not referring to the overuse of social media or the fact that many humans are glued to their phones (albeit, that is a very concerning statement). Rather, the change that I am referring to is something that we could look at now, in a contemporary sense, and say, “if that were to happen in the future, I would be absolutely terrified”.
In 2011, Charlie Brooker did just that. He created a television show by the name of Black Mirror, which consists of episodes with independent storylines that comment on the technological and social media driven world in which we live today.
As I mentioned above though, these episodes do not simply comment on the overuse of technology or the negative manner in which social media can be used-no, these episodes look at worlds in which an application, which rates people on their interactions, is able to dictate one’s social status, flight status, and even their ability to rent a car. These episodes explore worlds in which judicial punishment comes in the form of literal torture and the reliving of a single day, over and over again (in addition to the fact that this day includes a woman being stalked by murderers and social media goers recording her along the way, but not offering any assistance).
While I mentioned earlier that we have not yet reached a world that fully resembles those that are illustrated in Black Mirror, the horrifying thing is, we do not seem to be too far off. As was mentioned in Sophie Gilbert’s article for The Atlantic, the application Peeple was “Billed as ‘Yelp for people,'” and “…gave users the capacity to rank any person around them on a star system”. While the application seems to have changed its focus, it is a reminder that we are not as far removed from the storylines in Black Mirror as we may have previously thought.
So, the question becomes, “When and where do we cross the threshold”? Is it plausible that in our lifetimes we may witness a world that is so dictated by social media and technology that we become servants of an application that rates us? As a self-proclaimed social media and technology nerd, I am absolutely entranced by the possibilities that the future holds for us, but shows such as this provide me with a necessary reality check of the potential dangers of such a future.
Luke Clellan Dellorso