Technology is advancing in the space of Artificial intelligence(A.I.), Augmented Reality (A.R.), Virtual Reality (V.R.), digitalized social rating, and even blockchain supporting a decentralized structure.
I’m sure you can think of a movie that predicted using one of the above technologies way ahead of its time. The Terminator, Matrix, and Simpsons Show are a few famous examples.
One of the most recent correct predictions was Black mirror vs. Metaverse.
Can one believe that the Netflix series “Black Mirror” launched in 2015 could have predicted the launch of Metaverse and the future of our digital world?
In Oct 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebranding of Facebook as Meta and highlighted his vision for next-generation social networking. According to Mark Zuckerberg’s vision, meta will nite the physical and digital worlds to become one.
WE CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON BEING THE BEST AT BUILDING SOCIAL MEDIA APPSMark Zuckerberg
Black Mirror Metaverse episode was the season fourth’s first episode named “USS Callister”. In this episode Robert Daly, a gifted programmer and co-founder of multiplayer online games take out his revenge on a lack of recognition from his colleagues.
According to Black Mirror, Metaverse is a fully immersive online realm identical to the real world but based virtually.
The whole concept is based on augmented reality-based technology, enabling general users to become their avatar characters in the Metaverse. Metaverse will allow you to have a new identity in the digital world.
You can interact with your fellow avatar characters and socialize just like in the real world, with the only difference being the physical presence.
Metaverse is a virtual reality that lets us escape from reality and enter a new one. It is not an alternative to the real world. Society in this new world is much more diverse than ours.
There are other popular technology applications that Black Mirror predicted along with Metaverse.
Here is a list of 5 predictions Black Mirror made about the Metaverse and the future.
5 Predictions Black Mirror Made About Metaverse & Future Tech in 2015
1. Avatars As New Trend
In season 2, episode 3, “The Waldo Moment,” the main character becomes famous as he uses his avatar as his proxy. Surprisingly, he captured his comedic performance and made the most out of it. His cartoon was able to lambast people on live tv.
We account this concept with today’s world; we will be able to see that avatars are increasingly popular, especially after Apple’s recent Animoji program that creates animal emoji avatars based on people’s emotions.
In addition, motion capture technology has progressed to the point that live projection of players’ performances onto a digital avatar is possible.
2. Can’t See Without Screen
In the second episode of the second series called “White Bear,” a young woman wakes up and can’t remember anything. People here cannot take their eyes off their devices and consistently ignore communicating with her. They are continuously recording and watching the protagonist through their devices.
Now hold on one second and think about it. Don’t you see a similar kind of behaviour getting commission among people?
Even in the real world today, people are so addicted to their smartphones and gadgets that they ignore what exists in their surroundings.
Today, people are more concerned about recording a crime than trying to stop it. It feels like this addiction is also being ignored by the natural sense of humanity.
3. Growing Social Media Rating Addiction
“Nosedive” from Black Mirror depicts a world where appearance and popularity are everything.
Black Mirror’s Nosedive episode highlights the charms of looks and the popularity of online likes/ rating. It depicts a world where people are judged based on their several preferences.
The plot revolves around the heroine Lacie, who aspires to be in the high-fours so that she may live in a better home in a charming neighborhood. Her need for a high rating crushes her life and devastates her personality.
If we compare this with Metaverse, social media today, and even professional networks like LinkedIn, Everyone today wants to get famous and more liked online.
The influencer marketing industry is based on the same concept: popularity, reach, likes, and influence on specific audience segments online.
4. Record Your History To Relive Memories
The episode ‘The Entire History of You” featured on Black Mirror is one example of how technology can invade privacy and affect how we live our lives. In the episode, people live in a world where they have access to their memories through a device called a grain, which is implanted in their foreheads. They can replay memories, share them with others, or delete them altogether.
The main concern about our future is that we will be living in a world where we are constantly monitored, and our privacy will be taken away. These concerns have been amplified by the show Black Mirror.
The episode starts with a couple, Liam and Ffion, considering having their memories recorded for posterity. They are shown to argue about this, and Ffion leaves Liam’s office in anger.
The next scene shows Liam at home, watching his memories on his T.V. screen. He sees himself arguing with Ffion and her leaving her office in anger from his perspective as if he was watching it on T.V.
This episode is very similar to the concept of Metaverse from Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, in which people can share their experiences with others through a virtual reality world.
Some people are already using devices that capture every moment of their day, like Google glasses and a Kapture, a constantly recording wristband. These technologies are coming closer to being ubiquitous.
5. Cancel Culture – Death With Social Votes #Death
The episode ‘Hated in the Nation’ is a perfect example of how the internet can create a mob mentality.
Cancel culture is the idea that people should be able to cancel anything they want and that it’s wrong to be mad at someone for withdrawing something.
Cancel culture is an idea that was created on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. It was made famous by comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and it’s been around since the early 2000s.
4 Black Mirror Predictions That Are Closer Than Ever With The Metaverse
Apart from the predictions mentioned above initiated by Black Mirror that we have seen become a reality, in many episodes, Black Mirror has also warned its audience of predictions that are closer to us than ever.
And at least in how the reality progresses in the black mirror stories, it’s better to stay as away from them as we can.
Let’s now see what Black Mirror predicted the reality to be in some of the alternative universe episodes, how we’re extremely close to that in our reality, especially with the initiation of the Metaverse project, and how it can affect our daily lives.
#1 15 Million Merits (S01E02)
One of the underrated episodes of the show, 15 million merits shows little to nothing about the real environment of the people in the episode. We don’t know where they are or how they reached this point, however, what we are shown in the episode is that everyone lives under a routine that helps them earn merits.
The routine is to wake up in a technologically advanced room, with ceiling-to-floor digital screens that show a fake sunrise on the screen, brush your teeth, and get to work.
What’s work? Using a stationary cycle. The more you cycle, the more merits you earn.
These merits can then later be used to buy virtual things, such as games or movies, and also physical items such as food, toothpaste, and water.
The scary part of the episode is how close it seems to the real world now. The merits are extremely synonymous with digital or virtual currencies.
Even if these currencies only buy us virtual items, we seem to be more invested in them than real currencies.
Some of the metaverse currencies known as LAND or SAND have a much higher value than real currencies such as the USD.
But the scariest part is the climax of the episode. Since the characters in the episode are trapped in the reality, they have only one option to experience something new: Earn 15 million merits and take a part in a reality show to showcase their talent which could be their way to get out of this realm.
And mind you- the technologically advanced world that they live in isn’t boring or tedious at all. For a couple of hours of cycling, you can do almost everything we do virtually in this world. From the most advanced games to a plethora of entertainment options, however, all the characters in the episode are seen to be struggling to somehow earn 15 million merits and try their luck to free themselves out.
While in the world we live in, we’re living in freedom, yet we’re trying to trap ourselves in an augmented reality called the metaverse to deal with virtual currencies, virtual entertainment, and a virtual society.
#2 White Christmas (S02E04)
The highest-rated episode of Black Mirror, White Christmas, shows a couple of protagonists sharing past stories of the world they used to live in.
While the whole premise of the episode is extremely terrifying and daunting, there is one scene that caught my eye, which I could compare to the reality we live in right now.
That was when the protagonist was being controlled by an authority of what they can do, who they can see or touch, and who they can interact with.
Much like the blocking feature on Facebook or Instagram, in the episode, we see a world where you can block people off as such that they can’t even see or interact with you in the real world. All that they can see when they look at you is nothing but a blur.
And that does sound good if done right. Surely, people who misuse their privileges or are considered to be stalkers or hackers should be blocked and limited control in a metaverse that will exist right?
However, since we’re talking about creating a whole reality- a universe, who will be the judge? Would there be any measures to penalize the right person?
What if you spend 10 years in the metaverse and create a life of your own but are wrongfully accused and framed to be a convict? Blocked off of everything that you put the effort in for 10 years. The relationships, the assets, and your currencies.
#3 Striking Vipers (S05E01)
In the latest season of Black Mirror, we get an up-close hint of what augmented reality can help us explore when it comes to love and sexuality.
In this episode, we see two best friends in real life connect with each other in an AR game that they play together that helps them find new sexual interests for themselves within the game- but only in the game.
Which raises the question- if the metaverse were to be as real as the real world that we know of right now, how would relationships be in the near future?
Inevitably, the more technologically advanced we get, the easier it will be for people to erase their histories and hide themselves using proxies, but is that too much freedom?
Would we see a decline in real relationships and an increase in virtual relationships in the metaverse then? Or would people choose a different partner for both worlds?
#4 Be Right Back (S02E01)
This episode is not really as focused on the technological part of the world, however, it does raise a question for me when it comes to the metaverse.
How would another reality affect the life cycle of people? Would a person dying in the real world face the same consequences in the metaverse? This episode shows proof that may not be the case.
In the episode, the protagonist woman finds it extremely hard to deal with the death of her boyfriend and finds a way to get a ‘robot-ish’ version of him back that could learn its way to be her boyfriend again.
With the rise of Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning, we can already see that happening in the real world.
If computers can find patterns of songwriting from dead artists and create new songs following that, I think we could see an option of being alive in the metaverse even after our death.
Surely, our character would have enough information from our inputs to live and act the same way we did.
And maybe our loved ones and social connections prefer to keep us around in an augmented reality when we can’t be available in the real world? To go to a virtual lake fishing or to a virtual cinema for a movie?
At least, in the episode, the artificial intelligence algorithm couldn’t work as well and the protagonist woman is shown to discard her artificial boyfriend after some time, leaving him in the attic away from her life and accepting the death of her boyfriend.
What about the metaverse? Only time can tell…