A Nosedive into our future?
As always in Black Mirror, this episode is a mindblowing experience. Season 3, Episode 1, Nosedive left me with an uncanny feeling of inner despair: a world where your entire existence relies on other people's view of you and those users are actually empowered to publicly rank every single aspect of your life, every second of the day.
You might have heard that apparently, China is already heading this way, and this week this comes to light: Facebook is rating users on their trustworthiness.
Is this the beginning of a Nosedive nightmare?
Long story short, Lacie is a young woman who lives her life obsessed with social media and obtaining as many 'Likes' as possible in her social media, living in this picture-perfect world. Up to here, Nosedive could be anyone's life nowadays. But here is the twist: Lacie's actual lifestyle completely depends on a social media ranking. The world has become a nightmarish utopia, wherein society has completely lost its mind and everyone's life dreams or expectations depend on this so-called score of 5 stars system, where 'points' are granted by social media users.
This freaked me out because Nosedive appeared to be one of the most plausible episodes I have seen from Black Mirror if one observes where our society is heading. Watching it kept me uncomfortably contemplating the idea of a social media ranking ruling my whole life. This nightmare of an idea kind of got stuck in the back of my mind because it's one of those concepts that seems so strained and artificial that can never come true, or can it?
The rise of the user ranking
As mentioned earlier, Zhima Credit is a "personal credit" rating associated with Alipay, has been used in China in recent times and sounds quite similar to that outlined in Nosedive. Certain academic achievements and good credit can provide a positive score, and grant eligibility for larger bank loans or purchasing selected goods.
Furthermore, Facebook is already rating their users and has admitted to using this new system that rates users 1 or 0 in identifying fake news, in an alleged effort to fight misinformation. While the actual idea behind this new rating can come across as innocent and even good, it could also represent the first step to a very dark future.
Is this a potential issue?
Well... Could be. Just think for a moment. Every time a user hits "Like" on something, interacts with a post in any way, just views a picture or Ad, or even reads an article, social media's watchful eye secretly stores every action. Such precious information translates into profit as many companies pay -a quite low fee to be fair- for 'using' their enormous database in their marketing campaigns. What's best is that each user, meaning us, provide every piece of information willingly. It's a great business!
This so-called database contains tons of information from literally millions of people -their location, interests, age, gender, language, finances... All of this info is also becoming increasingly interesting to governments who may or may not eventually try to access to it in the name of national security.
Is Nosedive already here?
Luckily not quite, however, we are all addicted to social media already, aren't we? Our whole life is on display there already, so social media companies know everything about us literally by now. Our information is private though, for now... What would happen if this ranking system slowly became more popular, and eventually the norm? The answer is clear: Nosedive.
Just in case guys, be nice to everyone, always look fab, and smile, smile, SMILE!!