Although intended to be a fictional TV show, Black Mirror’s episode Nosedive is not so far off from the world which we live in today. As a little recap, Lacie Pound lives in a society completely reliant on ratings. Everyone has a rating out of 5 and the higher your rating, the more elite you are. The characters in the episode are able to rate and see everyone’s statistics in their direct vision and rate one another instantaneously. In this episode, Lacie tries to attain a 4.5 or higher in order to receive a discount on a new apartment she is wishing to rent. She practices expressions in the mirror, takes pleasing photos of her food and tries to be as friendly as possible with everyone she interacts with. When Lacie gets a call from an old friend asking her to be maid of honor at her wedding, Lacie couldn’t be more thrilled to accompany this high ranked friend at a high profile wedding. She thought this would for sure boost her ranking but everything leading up to the wedding backfires and her rating keeps decreasing.
This dystopian society that Lacie lives in is not so far off from our own reality. We are so consumed with likes and social media and yearn for popularity on so many virtual levels – popularity and social acceptance is determined by how many likes you get on a picture. I know that personally I have had many conversations that have contained the phrases “she gets so many likes”, “ugh I barely got any likes” or “I’m not liking her picture”. Although we don’t have actual ratings like in Nosedive, we do have hierarchy of social status. For example, celebrities generally get the most likes of anyone and even get paid for some posts. These would be classified as the “5.0”’s in our society. Then would be those who are “Instagram Famous”, followed by ordinary people who just have a large social following and then your average Joe.
These ratings are not the only things that are comparable to our reality. In the show, the characters are able to see each other’s ratings overlaid in their direct line of vision. Google already has their Google Glass spectacles, which project imagery into your line of vision – just like in Nosedive. There have been so many studies and developments about creating these lenses as contacts to possess virtual reality at your fingertips.
After watching this episode, I am terrified of what is to come of our future if we continue to move down this path of social gratification. We are so consumed with the amount of likes we get and “doing it for the Insta” that we are more present in the virtual world than we are in the present. Younger generations are growing up with this technology and mentality that social media likes are everything – and generations to come will be just as obsessed, if not more. As terrifying as it is, we are moving on a path towards the society in Nosedive whether we would like to admit it or not.