Black Mirror predicts a world of powerful technology – but which ones would we be willing to use? A new poll from YouGov has found out.
What with the dystopian nature of many Black Mirror episodes, you’d be forgiven for not particularly wanting to get your hands on some of the tech on display in the show. Bikes you have to ride endlessly to earn “tokens” to keep the lights on? Constantly rating each other based on social interactions? No thanks.
But now, a new YouGov survey has discovered which pieces of Black Mirror technology we’d most like to adopt in our own lives and which we’d rather leave in Charlie Brooker’s fictional world. And the piece of tech we’d be most comfortable using? An implant allowing us to record everything we see and hear.
The technology comes from Season 1 episode The Entire History of You, set in an alternative reality in which people have implants recording everything they see and hear – memories that they can ‘rewind’ and rewatch. Nearly 3 in 10 people (29%) said they’d be willing to use this technology – despite the depressing ending of the episode, in which a man rips his implant out having discovered his wife’s affair.
21% said they’d use optical implants allowing you to see through someone else’s eyes or live forever in a virtual reality, 19% would be willing to use tech to spy on their kids, and 17% would be willing to use a “memory machine” enabling users including police and insurance companies to replay memories.
Unsurprisingly, the study also found that young people are far more likely to adopt Black Mirror-esque technology than older people. 44% of 18-24 year olds, for example, said they’d like to live “for eternity after death” in a virtual reality world, compared to 16% of 50-64 year olds and just 8% of people aged over 65. Men were also more likely to use futuristic tech than women.
And – in perhaps especially dystopian news – a third of parents “would be willing to implant their children with tech that would let them spy through their child’s eyes”, as in Season 4’s Arkangel. 31% of parents said they’d use the technology, compared to 19% of the general population.
Although much of the technology seems fanciful and somewhat ridiculous, many elements of the Black Mirror world are becoming increasingly possible – and not just the aforementioned Chinese social rating programme. According to tech site Motherboard, scientists are also working on the ability to erase memories, on chips “that can be implanted in the brain to help form and store long term memories”, and on technology that will preserve our digital footprint after our deaths – so the dystopian world we’re watching on screen may be closer than we think.
Images: Netflix / YouGov