Is "Black Mirror" a Mirror of Our Future?

In the past couple months, the popular Netflix show, "Black Mirror," has given a major hype to a good chunk of our population. This show is known for its trippy, futuristic and crazy plots. As I finished watching season 4, one episode that really stood out to me was episode 2, “Arkangel”. Its futuristic component led me to a thought that is pretty terrifying. What if one day, parents can have the power to control their child’s whereabouts, censor what they want to and monitor their everyday lives?

*SPOILER WARNING *

As a quick overview, “Arkangel" is a story about a worried mother who transmitted a neural implant into her daughter. It comes with a tablet that controls what she can see/can’t see, her whereabouts and her medical information. Throughout the story, it shows how the daughter has a hard time maturing since her mother censored anything that spiked her stress level, including a scary barking dog on her street. Eventually, the mother realizes that she should not have this much power over her daughter. So she hid the tablet and didn’t use it until her daughter turned 15-years-old. As a curious high schooler, she experiences anything a normal pre-teen would - including drugs and sex. Her mother starts to track her once again, and eventually her daughter finds out because of blurred images of an emergency contraceptive pill. The daughter finds the tablet and beats her mom unconscious until the tablet is broken, then she runs off.

In my opinion, this was definitely a heavy episode. But it made me wonder how the technology that was introduced in the episode can actually be possible. Right now in this generation, technology is growing by the second, and perhaps we might eventually go too far. For example, designer babies are a huge controversial trend in medical research. According to this article, “This technique - known as inheritable genetic modification - modifies genes in eggs, sperm or early embryos and results in the altered genes being passed onto future generations." Of course, this can be used as a good thing, like when preventing horrible diseases or damaged genes. However, it can also take a different approach - parents are able to choose their child’s gender, hair color and height. That ability can therefore lead to a future where there is no longer a variety of traits. In a lot of places, populations prefer boys over girls or tall over short. Science fiction may not be fiction after all.

Although there is a lot more research that needs to be done to make this happen and genetically modifying embryos is currently illegal/restrictive in the United States and many other countries, it’s not far away. This article claims that China has already done tests that can make it possible. However, because of ethical reasons, it was put on hold.

As a science fiction show, "Black Mirror" has definitely held the standards of keeping us on the edge of our seats. But can “Black Mirror” be a mirror of the future? Only time will tell.

Image Credits: Cover Image, Image 1, Image 2, Image 3