Technology can be amazing, and watching how it changes our lives with each new breakthrough and discovery is inspiring. Black Mirror, a British TV series on Netflix, created by Charlie Brooker, which debuted in 2011. It became one of the most talked about sci-fi anthology series, offering different tales of modern horror through the lens of technologies in the societies.
It explores the innovative, pervasive and dark side of a near future world filled with artificial intelligence (AI), smart devices and other surreal advancement. Hang the DJ, the fourth episode of the fourth season reflects the way technology shapes a new form of human relationship.
In this episode, it takes on the world of dating apps. It tells the story of a couple- Amy and Frank – are paired by The System, the AI-backed app that runs thousands of simulations until a perfect match is found based on user experience, which is far beyond swiping right for love like Tinder.
The System mandates that couple stay together for a certain period of time, from a few hours to mandating marriage. In the end, the duo risks their lives to rebel against the oppressive system in an attempt to stay together, and we learn they’re actually one in 1,000 simulated versions of a coupling run by a dating app.
Hang the DJ introduces us how technology deeply influence people lives, even in the love affairs. Rather leaving people with uncertain relationship, the System plays a role in managing relationship at the beginning: every assignment helps provide its algorithm with enough meaningful data to eventually pair you at 99.8% accuracy with your perfect match.
In first place, Amy seems to trust algorithm to help her finding a true love. But after all, she shares uncertainty about the System – Is this all a scam built to drive you to such a madness that you would accept anyone as your soulmate? Is this the Matrix? What does “ultimate match” even mean?
The episode simply raised the question if existing dating apps we are familiar today advance their technology like The System, will people lives get easier. Otherwise, it might spark digital desperation that keeps is renewing accounts, feeling insecure about their personal data being kept and controlled by computation.
Hang the DJ also examines how we use technology with responsibility, safe internet and AI ethics, which is likely to happen in the near future.