Nosedive:A Black Mirror Review

Source: whatson-netflix.com

Social media is changing fast.  Can our morality keep up?

I remember the other night watching an episode of Black Mirror called “Nosedive”.  In the episode individuals in the future are given an implant whereby they can rate individuals “status” in vivo.  That is, I may buy a muffin from the local bakery, and have the opportunity to rate the friendliness of the person who serves me with a one to five star rating.

Hence, just as on Facebook we can rate an individual’s face, car, or career (by giving them a few likes), now this ability flows into daily life.  We can now rate the casual stranger, with a positive or negative rating, all the while observing how this other person is scored, and what kind of social influence he or she has.

Black Mirror is a clever series which runs this thought experiment in the course of a fifty-eight minute episode.  The main character Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard) would like to earn a higher rating so that she can buy an expensive apartment in a highbrow neighbourhood.  She is given a tip to make fiends with individuals with much higher ratings than her. This will hopefully boost her status.  Things don’t turn out as planned.

We could rant and rave over how crazy this idea is, but if social media is here to stay, then what can we really do?  I’m sure people said the same thing about the telephone, the internet, Skype, and then Facebook.

Simply not signing up may not be an option.  Moreover, in the not so distant future,  where our job and economic livelihood become tied to our social status and networks, such social media platforms may be necessary for living.

Perhaps we as persons need to evolve.   We do need to learn to see beyond the likes. Online material has become unscrupulously tailored.  Most importantly, I need to grasp that your appearance or social status, whether online or offline, does not tell me who you are and what you are worth.

Indeed, whether I can rate your face or not, you are still a child of God.

Raj Vijayakumar, SJ is a Jesuit scholastic studying philosophy in Toronto.

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