One of the most anticipated technology inspired series is back. (Warning Spoilers ahead) We’ve written about Black Mirror before and as we described it as a series packed with technological anxieties and possible futures. From 2011 to 2014, the series run a few episodes on Britain’s Channel 4 and Netflix is now producing new episodes. The Pilot Episode of season 3 titled “Nosedive”, imagines a future of an ubiquitous augmented reality (AR) based social media platform where your profile is open and interactive to the entire world. Everyone and anyone can star rate you with scores between 0 to 5, (the same way you rate your Uber driver after a ride) and this rating score impacts your societal privileges.
This new class of ratings-dependent economy, seems to turn most people into hypersensitive critics. The characters in “Nosedive” nervously build their entire lives to be deeply rooted online, within certain a few regulations. Of course this is a mythical social media world and the creators made sure of that by editing the whole episode in an arch, bright, over-the-top tone.
Your Rating would count in society
In this world, your user-generated score glows in front of your face and can be seen by every one who will be implanted with a special contact lens AR system. The lead actress Lacie Pound (Bryce Dallas Howard) kicks of the episode with a respectable 4.2 score, but she wants more and strives to reach the elite scores of 4.9- 5 and seems she could do anything to achieve this and from the title of the episode, you can guess how this all ends.
Today, when you have a grudge with any company, you can rant away on Facebook or Twitter and they will apologies but in this world there is no way to rate businesses or other institutions. It all starts to crumble for Lacie when she accepts to become a maid of honor at a long lost childhood friends wedding (Naomi) in her bid to get more A-listers on the guest list. When she reaches the Airport her flight is canceled, she’s expected to retreat calmly but instead lashes out and that’s where her whole world comes crumbling down.
This episode should feel familiar to anyone who’s been in an online sphere where they can be rated and ranked — anyone who’s owned a online business that’s featured on sites that allow rating. Like ebay or even a mere YouTube video. It always rubs someone the wrong way when they get a bad ranking, especially when it’s anonymous. But all in all , Black Mirror will not predict what will happen in the future, but more about the things we take for granted in the now, and how satire can give us a glimpse in the possibilities of the future.
Image Credit: Netflix