The release date for Black Mirror’s new season has been revealed: the fifth season of the hugely popular Netflix series will air on the 5th of June. Charlie Brooker’s scarily accurate sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror will return this summer for a brand new season, which, to be honest, is bloody brilliant news.
The trailer announces that the season will feature three new stories revolving around how we see technology and a variety of other social factors. It appears that once again, the traditional ‘near future‘ setting of the show will be used (no Metalhead or USS Callister-like imagery here), and Brooker’s interest in videogames is shown via a segment that appears to be futuristic Street Fighter.
To celebrate this revelation we will focus on inventions seen in the series that already exist in real life. It is true that Black Mirror may generally be set in an alternative present or near future, but it has echoed real life on a surprising amount of occasions.
1. Recording memories
Ranked as Black Mirror’s best episode to date, The Entire History of You, takes place in a world where people automatically record every aspect of their life and instantly play it back whenever they want. A technology that spells trouble for Tony Kebbel and Jodie Whittaker’s doomed couple.
While we are not quite at that stage yet, there a few wearable devices that allow you to record snippets of your life. Snap Inc’s Spectacles for example that will allow you to record 10 seconds of video. Another option is Samsung’s contact lenses that take a photo every time you blink, with the technology giant patented in 2016.
2. Self-driving pizza vans
In season four’s Crocodile, a self-driving pizza van hits a pedestrian and sets in motion a series of bleak and violent events. Naturally, it was perfect timing for Pizza Hut to introduce their first “fully autonomous delivery concept vehicle”.
It’s in partnership with Toyota, which unveiled its e-Palette at the Consumer Electronics Show. E-Palette is an automated vehicle that can suit a variety of needs. Fortunately, we don’t have to keep a wary eye out for them until 2020 at the earliest.
3. Bringing back a loved one
Season two’s heartbreaking Be Right Back episode sees Martha replace her late boyfriend with a synthetic substitute, using his online history, photos and videos to effectively bring him back to “life”, only to realize that the android can only ever be a replica.
This technology is far from impossible, we already have chatbots who can mimic a real person, but Hanson Robotics went one step further and created a social robot in 2010. The robot, BINA48, was modeled after owner Martine Rothblatt’s wife Bina Aspen, using her memories and feelings, and is able to interact with people.
4. Virtual characters
Black Mirror’s weakest outing to date was season two’s The Waldo Moment, which saw a failed comic (Daniel Rigby) voice a cartoon bear who becomes a key figure in the British political scene.
Even if we haven’t got as far as a virtual politician, there is plenty of scope to create your own virtual avatar. You don’t need to be able to afford your own motion-capture technology as they use in Hollywood, as Apple’s Animojis use the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera to map an emoji of your choice to your face, enabling it to move and express itself as you do. Needless to say, it didn’t go unnoticed by Black Mirror’s social-media person. Spot the Waldo.
5. Rating People
Season three’s opener, Nosedive, is set in a world where everyone can rate the interactions they have with their fellow humans, centering on Lacey’s (Bryce Dallas Howard) rapid decline from her previous high standing in society. An impressive episode that chills the bones.
We may not have an overall app that does such a thing, but there’s no end to the ways you can rate your life or the lives of others with Uber, Peeple, Tinder or the various other dating apps where we are supposed to note a service but we only focus on the person providing it…
Going one step further, the Chinese government is testing a ‘social credit’ system that rates everyone’s trustworthiness based on things like financial ratings and political beliefs. Frightening.
The fact that the innovations at the heart of Black Mirror episodes already exist or could in the next years makes the series even more immersive and worrying at the same time…
We’re looking forward to seeing the inventions season 5 will bring us. Black Mirror is sure to surprise its fans on the 5th of June!