Earlier this month, The Verge ran an equally fascinating and unsettling article about a computer engineer named Eugenia who fed all of her text conversations with her late friend Roman—who died after being struck by a car—into an artificial neural network. Eugenia’s goal was to see if she could digitally reanimate Roman as a chatbot that could imitate his dialogue closely enough to recreate their conversations. She accomplished her goal well enough to make her miss her friend even more, enough to trick herself into forgetting Roman was gone.The article drew immediate comparisons to Black Mirror; the first season episode “Be Right Back” followed a nearly identical plot. But how does that technological advancement affect the perception of the Black Mirror episode? It wouldn’t be terrifying in 2016 to watch an episode of television about, say, a fax machine that prints dispatches from the dead. So is Black Mirror more effective when it’s just ahead of evolving technology or when it depicts an inconceivable future?
‘Black Mirror’ Kicks Off Its Third Season with a Five-Star Episode