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Black Mirror

Nick R

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On 23/10/2016 at 01:06, joeplus said:

Just watched the first three back-to-back, which is probably not the best way, it's quite intense. All brilliant, Nosedive was the best. Maybe later I'll write reams of praise for each ep, but for now:


Shut up and Dance (Episode 3) spoilers


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Do we all agree that Kenny was looking at child porn? That's such a vicious twist, and it makes me want to re-watch, and also makes me want to NOT rewatch. Holy fuck. Soundtracked by Exit Music. Holy fuck.




That one's not even up to interpretation. It definitely happened - his mum even says so on the phone at the end.


I'm 4 in so far, and it's been a great series, but I agree that San Junipero is just a cut above. So well put together, and incredibly effective.

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I was thinking 3 was a bit bleak and then the last reveal happened.


Isn't there a bit of a flaw though?


How would the webcam see what he's fapping to on the screen it's attached to? We even saw a bit of video, up to him about to whip it out and no indication of the wank material.


Overall, I did enjoy the series, though maybe the episodes were a little too long in some cases.

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37 minutes ago, JohnC said:


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How would the webcam see what he's fapping to on the screen it's attached to? We even saw a bit of video, up to him about to whip it out and no indication of the wank material.



I don't think it's a big stretch to imagine that 



the malware was capturing his screen contents and his webcam feed at the same time.


But in any case, I think the key thing is that 



he would have to act on the assumption they had everything, even if they didn't. He's in no position to call their bluff. 


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I wasn't too keen on Playtest. It felt like a story that was conceived simply to have that droll final shot/comment at the end of the episode rather than say anything particularly worthwhile. There were a few creepy bits in it but overall I doubt I'd ever watch it again unlike the better episodes.


Still have Episodes 3, 5 and 6 to go. Based on what I'm hearing, my appreciation of Nosedive may increase with hindsight since it seems like it will actually be the most fully realised vision of the future in terms of how that social ranking tech impacts on everything. The rest of the episodes seem to focus in on one piece of technology that exists almost in isolation rather than building a vision with the scope of Nosedive (admittedly this was the case with many older episodes too).

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This is so Black Mirror:


I got half way down and thought it was like reading satire.



One of the biggest insurance companies in Britain is to use social media to analyse the personalities of car owners and set the price of their insurance.


The unprecedented move highlights the start of a new era for how companies use online personal data and will start a debate about privacy.


Admiral Insurance will analyse the Facebook accounts of first-time car owners to look for personality traits that are linked to safe driving. For example, individuals who are identified as conscientious and well-organised will score well.


The insurer will examine posts and likes by the Facebook user, although not photos, looking for habits that research shows are linked to these traits. These include writing in short concrete sentences, using lists, and arranging to meet friends at a set time and place, rather than just “tonight”.


In contrast, evidence that the Facebook user might be overconfident – such as the use of exclamation marks and the frequent use of “always” or “never” rather than “maybe” – will count against them.


The initiative is called firstcarquote and was officially meant to launch this week but that was delayed at the last minute on Tuesday night. It is aimed at first-time drivers or owners – although anyone with a licence can apply. The scheme is voluntary, and will only offer discounts rather than price increases, which could be worth up to £350 a year. However,Admiral has not ruled out expanding firstcarquote.


The rapid growth of social media and personal technology has given insurance companies and employers swaths of data they can access to analyse customers or employees. As well as Admiral’s car insurance scheme, insurers are looking at how they can use the rise of smartwatchesand fitness trackers to monitor people’s health. For example, Vitality is currently selling the Apple Watch to health and life insurance customers, with the final price dependent on how much exercise customers do while owning the watch.


Admiral says that firstcarquote offers a way for young drivers to identify themselves as safe rather than having to wait years while they build up a track record and a no claims bonus.


Dan Mines, who led the firstcarquote project at Admiral, denied that it was invasive of personal data.


“It is incredibly transparent. If you don’t want to use it in a quote then you don’t have to,” he said. “We are doing our best to build a product that allows young people to identify themselves as safe drivers.”


Mines said Admiral could eventually develop the scheme further, meaning it could include other social media sites and increase the price of insurance for some drivers.


“This is very much a test product for us. This is innovative, it is the first time anyone has done this,” he said. “It is a test, this is early days. The data will only ever provide a discount. We will work through that and learn more.


“I think the future is unknown. We don’t know if people are prepared to share their data. If we find people aren’t sharing their data, then we won’t ever get to consider that [expanding firstcarquote].”

The scheme is based around algorithms that have been developed by Admiral. The technology uses social data to make a personality assessment and then, judging against real claims data, analyse the risk of insuring the driver.


Yossi Borenstein, the principal data scientist on firstcarquote, said its algorithm looked for correlations between social media data and actual claims data. The technology will evolve as firstcarquote attracts customers and gathers more evidence about the correlations, meaning the importance of items identified on social media could change.


Borenstein said: “Just like conscientiousness there are other traits which can be indicative of safe driving. Our algorithm for calculating what ‘safe’ looks like is constantly learning, as we match social data to actual claims data.


“Our analysis is not based on any one specific model, but rather on thousands of different combinations of likes, words and phrases and is constantly changing with new evidence that we obtain from the data. As such our calculations reflect how drivers generally behave on social media, and how predictive that is, as opposed to fixed assumptions about what a safe driver may look like.”


Borenstein insisted that Admiral would not have access to information about what its customers look at on Facebook or what their friends do. The company would only have access to the information gathered during the quote process and would have no ongoing access.


“If this is successful, it could be revolutionary,” he said. “It could be truly transformational.”


An Admiral spokesman said: “The launch of our firstcarquote trial has had to be delayed. We’ve been working closely with Facebook in Europe to get the service ready, and are now addressing a few outstanding issues. We hope that very soon we will be able to offer first-time drivers better deals on their car insurance.”



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3 episodes in:





While I was watching it I couldn't shake the feeling it was all very Hollywood, which was of course a big part of the point. As the reality of life within such a system starter to become apparent - that we'd only seen the elite at the outset - it got smarter and smarter. The main characters dawning realisation and breakdown seemed...rushed, I think, but it all hung together well. The final scene, while somewhat trite, just showed how technology can and does nullify our ability to engage in a meaningful and honest manner - turning life into Facebook (literally) just involves every falsehood ever.




Loved this one from start to finish. So cleverly done, with multiple twists and layers to it, real tension and a constant raising of the stakes. It felt like that which Brooker constantly references: a Twilight Zone episode based within technology.


Shut Up And Dance:


The weakest of the 3 for me. It was absolutely commentary on the here and now (indeed, the BBC ran a story about this type of blackmail recently) but it didn't feel like any real kind of commentary on society or technology. The protagonist being weird from the outset, linked with the final reveal of him being a paedo, just felt limp and like a "Ha! You sympathised with him and he's a monster so now how do you feel about this complex moral issue?" moment, when it never was particularly interesting to start with.


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Just saw the first episode of series 3 and blimey, what a great start.


The move to Netflix has upped the production values significantly and it's all the better for it. There were certainly episodes in the past where it looked a bit shonky and wasn't done justice. That cartoon bear speings to mind.


So Charlie Brooker seems to be becoming one of our best modern day screen writers, now with a global audience. Sega boy done good.

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Think I'm in the minority for loving 5 of the 6. With shut up and dance  leaving me cold. Similar views on it to Pele upthread. After what was said here about eps 5 and 6, my expectations were low, but both were cracking yarns with something interesting to say about the trajectory of technology and our interface with it. SUAD was just topical and unsubtle.

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I thought 3 was really good. The end was great. The twist was quite surprising to me as I thought he'd just

been banging one out to standard, everyday pornography

I didn't enjoy 2 much but I might watch it again as it had a lot going on in the end. 1 was fairly annoying and obvious - real life is getting too much like satire there.


I'm watching these very slowly :)

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  • 1 month later...

So, finally getting time to watch some of this. Watching Nosedive and haven't read the rest of the thread but apart from the obvious comparison to "social" internets has anyone compared this to Down & Out in The Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow?

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The only one I thought was a bit rubbish was Hated in the Nation. Felt like a primetime ITV crime drama doing a pastiche of a black mirror episode. My favourite was Playtest, extremely creepy and well done. San Janipero was great, but it was an indy romance film, not a black mirror episode.

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Wow, I'd only seen the 'pig' episode of the last series so really enjoyed this latest batch of episodes. San Janipero was standout, but even the 'crap' ones like the solider epi were better than most rubbish on TV these days. Great casting throughout.


What are the standout episodes of the previous series?

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5 hours ago, lordcookie said:

Entire History of You is still the best episode of the entire series for me, so definitely check that one out.

Same, it's leagues ahead of all the others, including San Junipero. Toby Kebbel is such a great actor to watch. There's this bit where he literally just says "Hello!" during the fight with his wife that is so absolutely astute and on point that lifts the entire scene. 


In fact, i'm gonna go watch it again now.

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