After months of speculation, we know that Netflix is funding 12 new episodes of Black Mirror, according to Variety. A modern-day Twilight Zone of sorts created by British satirist Charlie Booker, Black Mirror series examines the harmful and unseen effects technology has on society. The title itself refers to the dark reflection of ourselves we see in the digital screens around us. Originally unavailable to U.S. viewers for several years, the series has gained critical and popular acclaim since Netflix picked it up last year.
In the episodes so far, a woman has created an emotionless clone of her dead husband, a man watched his memories on rewind as conveniently as scrolling through an iPhone photo app, and Jon Hamm created his own Siri by downloading his consciousness, among other haunting tales.
So what’s next? We scanned the headlines and already have a bunch of ideas for the Black Mirror team. So, we decided to step into the writer’s room and dream up 10 Black Mirror episodes based on news from this year. Let us know your ideas in the comments below.
In July, Belgian city Antwerp followed in the footsteps of Washington D.C. and Chongqing, China by implementing a separate walking lane for those who text and walk. The brilliantly cynical Black Mirror addressed our obsession with video taping everything on our cell phones in an episode where a convicted murder was chased in an enclosed area while people silently followed and video taped her. Dictating who can walk where based on their technological tendencies sounds like the perfect episode.
In May, Google’s self-driving cars surpassed 1.5 million miles driving, autonomously and manually with a safety driver. The future of driving does not mean no accidents and Google’s self-driving cars experienced 11 “minor” accidents, which Google attests solely to human error. A Black Mirror episode could answer what happens when cars determine humans are unfit to drive for themselves.
On July 29, inmates at the Mansfield Correctional Institution in Ohio received packages of drugs dropped from a drone. This was the second time in less than two months the same prison experienced drone-delivered drugs. Drug cartels drones flying harmlessly next to children-piloted drones could be an episode in Black Mirror that shows the complexity of regulating such a technology that the FAA has struggled with.
On December 11, 2014, an unidentified 21 year old man underwent a penis transplant by a team of doctors from Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, Africa. Six months later, the unidentified man’s girlfriend was pregnant from the transplanted penis. Black Mirror would examine the disastrous side, such as in 2006 when a man had a transplanted penis removed due to “a severe psychological problem of the recipient and his wife.” Just imagine, the same people spending thousands of dollars to surgically change into Kim Kardashian, hunting down celebrities to become just like them.
In March, the Associated Press expanded its use of “robot journalists” by having collegiate sports coverage handled by automated statistical analysis instead of human reporters. Our dream Black Mirror episode would find out what happens when human decency is automated.
Knoxville, Tennessee company BioPet Vet Lab provided 26 apartment and condo complexes in Seattle with its PooPrint testing kit which does DNA testing of discarded dog feces. Dog owners caught leaving their dog’s poo around are fined $110, $60 for the testing, and $50 for the infraction. Making a pet’s DNA the basis of human punishment, would be a perfect setup.
In an article from Wired’s July issue, Andy Greenberg detailed how relatively easy it was to make an untraceable AR-15 using legally purchased gun parts. During a time of civil unrest due to police brutality among citizens, a fantasy Black Mirror episode could explore how technology could even the playing field between authority and citizens, for better and worse.
Launched in late 2014, dating app Luxy is promoted as “Tinder minus the poor people” since it allows users to verify their wealth by inputting their tax records. On Luxy, members are able to rate someone’s profile and effectively decide if they stay on Luxy or are removed. Black Mirror could delve into a world where marriages, hookups, and all sorts of human copulation is regulated by an arbitrary system based on wealth and what a small, unseen group of people think is best for you.
Donald Trump is currently the most popular Republican candidate for president, despite a series of controversial statements. Black Mirror has already touched on the subject of a cartoonishly disrespectful candidate threatening to actually win an election in “The Waldo Moment.” Waldo, the foul-mouthed animated character, eventually lost after its operator saw how blindly people began following a cartoon. A future Black Mirror episode could go full into a world where someone like Donald Trump is the leader of the free world.
The summer of 2015 was not fun for folks living in Greece. Banks closed and withdrawal limits were imposed as the Greek government negotiated with the European Union for a bailout. Many Greek people did not trust their government to get things back in order, leading thousands of Greeks to register for the digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Black Mirror could surely sink its teeth into the idea of an entire country run on a currency with no central bank that makes every transaction anonymous. The perfect Black Mirror episode for this crisis would show us the anarchy that would result if money was controlled by the people.
That’s our list. Let us know what crazy news stories or topics you’d like to see Black Mirror take on.