While many of us believe that the future to be bright, and that the best yet to come, Black Mirror tells a different story.
The Netflix television series is a bleak one, presenting us with the worst case scenarios of our technology-driven society.
But what's a sci-fi show without its technology? Here, a number of Black Mirror technological advancements that may be rolled out to the general public in the not-so-near future. Let's just hope the future doesn't turn as apocalyptic as the series predicts.
Automated pizza delivery van from 'Crocodile'
With the food delivery business now worth billions of dollars, it's not hard to imagine that this industry will soon be fully automated in the near future. Iceland already tested its delivery service by aerial drone last year, while Pizza Hut, in partnership with Toyota, recently introduced its automated delivery van concept at this year's CES. And if 3D printing food (yes, that's actually a thing) also takes off, the pizza van we saw on 'Crocodile' shouldn't be so far off.
Robot dogs from 'Metalhead'
If you're wondering about creator Charlie Brooker's inspiration for this episode's mechanical pit bulls, it was Boston Dynamic's robot dog. The robotics design company has been building mechanical quad-pedal robots since 2005, and has been improving and miniaturizing it over the years. It's latest model, the SpotMini, is its smallest yet, and closely resembles the ones in 'Metalhead.'
Social ranking scores from 'Nosedive'
Rating people today is mostly limited to Uber drivers and riders, but imagine a future where you can rate everyone just like in 'Nosedive'? The Chinese government, in partnership with Alibaba Group's Sesame Credit, is already experimenting with the idea and plans to make it mandatory for all its citizens by 2020. The system itself does not allow you to rate random people with every interaction, but it's eerily close. The service keeps track of your online behavior and creates a score between 350 and 950, rewarding those who hold a high enough score with perks like renting a car or apartment without a deposit or being able to skip security checks at the airport. Get a low enough score and you may be punished with slower internet speed or be denied access to certain restaurants and social security services.
According to the developers of Sesame Credit, the service "will ensure that the bad people in society don't have a place to go."
Face Tracking Emojis from 'The Waldo Moment'
Black Mirror guessed the future right with this episode. Five years after the episode aired, we now have Apple-created animojis—animated, faced-tracked emojis that can mimic the user's facial expressions. Just like the foul-mouthed blue bear from the episode, people can now improve their emoji game by sending cute avatars of themselves with their voice. It's only limited to mobile at the moment, but people are already starting to be creative with its use.
Digital Assistants from 'Hang the DJ'
If Siri and Tinder had a baby, it would be the "coach" matchmaking devices from Season 4's 'Hang the DJ.' While the device itself is non-existent (yet), advanced mathematics, algorithms, and artificial intelligence are already being used by dating apps and sites to make the best possible match. Tinder, for example, now has a feature called “Super Likable” that can predict who it thinks you'll swipe right on. After sifting through vast amounts of swiping data to find patterns—like your tendency to swipe right on scruffy men or brunettes, for example—it then searches for new profiles that fit those patterns. Tinder then adds those profiles to your swiping queue. With a massive user base and 26 million matches on the app daily, Tinder's algorithm can only get better by the day.
DNA Digitizer from 'USS Callister'
While making digital, sentient copies of ourselves from our DNA seems far-fetched, the science of digitizing DNA is already here. A single strand of DNA can hold gobs of information such as your probability to catch certain diseases, your tendency to be a thrill-seeker, and every minute detail of your physical appearance. We've already begun cloning dogs using DNA, and human clones are just around the corner provided the technology overcomes many ethical and policy issues.
Brain Implants from 'The Entire History of You' and 'Arkangel'
Our brains are already biological supercomputers, But Elon Musk and a few other individuals are toying with the idea that it can still be improved. Musk's new company, called Neuralink, will prioritize developing brain implants that will allow human beings to merge with software. The enhancements can have a lot of applications, like improving memory or allowing you to directly interface with your devices, to name a few. Simply put, if this technology sees the light of day, we would be able to send text messages or make calls just by thinking about them, which could make the smartphone obsolete.