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The side effects of dark technology

('Black Mirror' Official Facebook page)

(‘Black Mirror’ Official Facebook page)

Do you have a longing appetite for guts and horror despite Halloween’s pass? Are you looking for something thrilling but not antiquated? I must recommend Netflix’s “Black Mirror.” With the madness that is the 2016 American presidential election and constant debate talk over the presumed “Russian hacks,” it seems as if fear of technology’s unrestricted advantages is starting to warrant a new brand of packaged, televised fear. Leave it to Hollywood to reap the benefits of presumed cyber-terrorism.

Living in a world globally dominated by technological advancements led by industry giants such as Apple, Facebook and Google, one can start to assess the harm in what has come to be known as the digital age. Two decades ago we were renting movies from Blockbuster about zombies, possessions and “Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!” Today, screenwriters have had to adapt and innovate in order to scare us, or at least thrill us. But are Americans actually frightened by how technology is evolving and morphing?

The answer is yes. In second place on Time magazine’s list of what American’s fear the most, cyber technology trails only corruption of government officials and is surprisingly above terrorism. This gives screenwriters and directors a new creative avenue to take and “Black Mirror” says it all.

Created and written by Charlie Brooker, the series divulges into the unforeseen consequences of the endless advances technology has on our lives. There is never a better time to watch such a thought-provoking show than now. The show has different settings, themes and actors every episode therefore it does not need to be watched in order, nor should it be. The theme of fascination with weaponizing technology in episode five of the third season draws a slight parallel to the fear we all have in the back of our heads: What happens when robotic development is used for common, daily tasks? Will it produce harmony and a greater expanse for creativity? Or will it mirror the “I, Robot” scenario of 2004 that becomes more and more relatable with each passing year? Brooker takes this concept to the next level by indulging us with a suspenseful masterpiece of well-crafted, gritty human fears we see come to life by the efforts of talented actors and actresses.

Familiar faces featured in the show are Hayley Atwell (Martha) who is most commonly known for her roles in the “Captain America” and “Avengers” franchise films, Rafe Spell (Potter) from the film “Prometheus” and “Life of Pi” and Jon Hamm (Matt) of the ever popular “Mad Men” series on AMC.

Let your imagination run wild and ponder the future of technology with “Black Mirror” – an effective combination of “The Matrix,” “Twilight Zone” and “I, Robot” mixed into one intriguing series accessible to you at any time of the day via Netflix. What are you waiting for?

Miranda Donohue and can be reached at mrdonohue@umass.edu.

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