At The Verge, Josh Dzieza pinpoints the verité nature of contemporary life that has made Black Mirror so unsettling:
The bewildering escalation of events is a key part of Black Mirror, and it's a phenomenon this year was rich in — that how did we get here? Is this real life? feeling that so many of 2014's events had. Did some kids upset about critiques of their games really just threaten women from their homes and turn the internet into a hellscape? Did a dumb bro-comedy really become a matter of national security? Did the president just commend Seth Rogen?
This is the paranoia at the heart of Black Mirror: we’re building systems the full repercussions of which we don’t yet understand, and the idea of opting out of them is a myth. It’s the suspicion that even as technology is making life better and better — and I believe it is — it’s exposing us to dangers we won’t understand until it’s too late to do anything about them.
At times this year has felt like a Black Mirror clarifying moment, which is to say, it felt like the future, but in an ominous way. Everything is connected now, which turns out to mean that pretty much everything is getting hacked. Anyone can talk to anyone now, which means everyone risks getting harassed by trolls. Our news is increasingly curated by algorithms whose biases and blind spots we’re just beginning to understand. Oh, and also those algorithms can inadvertently inflict pain, and they’re kept relatively clean by an army of foreign laborers traumatized daily by the worst humanity has to offer. Of course, I’m still saving everything to the cloud, still on every social network and signing up for new ones, still not really sure where my data is going.