"Black Mirror": Terrifying Look into the Future of Artificial Intelligence


This posting is an unfinished draft.

I happened upon the Netflix series Black Mirror a few weeks ago. I watched a few episodes and didn't give it much thought. "Black Mirror" is a series of "short stories" that explore artificial intelligence gone awry. After taking in all four seasons and twenty episodes, I started to become a bit unnerved.

Black Mirror, a British produced series created by Charlie Booker and released by Zeppotron for Endemol, is an directly in-your-face exploration that most likely would lead to the downfall of civilized society as we know it. I began watching the story entitled Fifteen Million Merits which very much takes place well into the future. In this episode, the world is "powered" by millions of peddling human automatons who "feel trapped living in an enclosed, automated space, as a member of a society that rides power-generating stationary bikes in exchange for "merits", a form of currency they can use to buy things they need."

No spoiler alert here, but the only way to escape the mundane lifestyle is to subject oneself to another form of the most bizzare, leaving the ever-peddling "drones" very few options. Either accept the fate to peddle for the remainder of one's life or be exposed to the world in a strange contest that very much resembles "American Idol."  To be released from a life of misery, humans must sign up to "perform" in front of a panel of judges named, appropriately, "Faith, Charity, and Hope." Wraith is a pornographer, Charity loves everyone, and Hope (who eerily resembles Simon Cowell)

However, an entry ticket costs 15 million merits. Bing, feeling there is nothing worth buying, gifts Abi the entry ticket, and joins her for her audition. Abi is required to drink a psychotropic beverage labeled "Cuppliance" from a stage hand, before she goes out to sing "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is" for the judges, Hope, Charity and Wraith (Rupert Everett, Julia Davis, Ashley Thomas, respectively). While they are impressed with her singing, they admit they have no more room for singers, but Wraith suggests she is better suited for his pornography show, WraithBabes. Despite Bing protesting from the wings, Abi in her altered state tearfully accepts.(Even the "star" of the show