Black Mirror: Playtest

Synopsis: Playtest takes a look at our not too distant future.  In fact, what we see technically takes place in present time.  We are always looking for the next big technology, the next .com boom or the next Google.  What can developers do to set them above the rest? Why is gaming so addicting? In this episode of Black Mirror, one can find out.

Connor is on a mission to find himself.  Travelling the world, enjoying life, and trying to escape the world he left behind in America.  Low on finds, he uses “Odd Job” to be a guinea pig for a new VR simulator, at England’s biggest game development firm.

Enthralled by an easy, interactive demo, Connor (chasing the adrenaline) agrees to go further with the experiment.  The architect of the game, a Japanese developer known around the world for his horror games, agrees Connor is the perfect candidate to test the VR system.

Outlook: For someone like myself, who enjoys reading about technology, science fiction, and most importantly the advancement of AI, this episode really stuck with me.  I mean, waking up at 3am unable to go back to sleep for hours, thinking about the world we see around us.  Elon Musk even believes we are living in a simulation.  Why? Looking at the scale of video games, it is easy to see why one may think so.  A mere  37 years ago, Japan gave us “Pac-Man.”  Ten years later, in 1990, we got “Final Fantasy,” “Super Mario 3,” and the “Mega Man” series.

These were huge leaps in technology, going from top down arcade style games, and blasting into 2D and even 3D gaming.  In as little as ten years.

From there, we are now into full immersion gaming, whether it be a VR system or a $3,000 rig running Titan cards.  We are always pushing the boundary of entertainment.  This is why scientists believe we could be in a simulation.  If we are progressing this quickly, who’s to say we aren’t a brain in a tank? Well, we have no way to prove we are not, and that’s why it’s easy to either dismiss or accept.  You and I have no idea what “another life” would feel like, or look like.  This same concept was used in 1999’s “The Matrix.”

Dan Brown applies the same principle in his book “Angels & Demons” which was adapted into a film, starring Tom Hanks (2009). Brown used the fact that the human population has been exploding at a rate Earth cannot sustain.  In his book, he believes that there will be 37 billion people on the planet based on the current human birth trend.  However, the UN debunked this some years ago.

As far as TV shows go, this is some of the best science fiction I have seen since Battlestar Galactica.

Featured image courtesy of “Netflix”

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