Podcast: Netflix’s ‘Black Mirror’ Portents Data Privacy Doom

That DOS Won’t Hunt’ Podcast -- Dystopian science fiction can reflect the ways we let current technology seize control, trading decision making for convenience and profit.

Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Editor

July 13, 2023

Fear of the near- or far-future is a common emotional response to dystopian science fiction. These days, however, there is plenty of current technology that may stir feelings of dread.

Are my devices listening to me? Is sensitive data about me being gathered and monetized? Are my details being used in ways I am unaware of -- to my detriment?

Any of those thoughts might be heard in debates over data privacy policy. They also take center stage in this season of "Black Mirror" on Netflix.

Anyone familiar with the "Black Mirror" series probably expects to find a bleak take on human interaction with and the manipulation of technology that exists now or might be a few steps down the road. In many ways, science fiction tends to offer cautionary stories of what might be, whether it is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or James S. A. Corey’s novel series "The Expanse."

“Joan is Awful” was the season premiere episode of "Black Mirror" this summer and it pulled off a trifecta of technophobia that stemmed not just from the existence of cutting-edge innovation but the choices we make, often for convenience, that can lead to our own ruin.

Spoilerwarning -- this podcast will launch heavily into plot details from the season premiere of "Black Mirror," which served up lasting questions about digital identity, AI, and the potential of quantum computing.

Listen to the podcast here.

About the Author(s)

Joao-Pierre S. Ruth

Senior Editor

Joao-Pierre S. Ruth covers tech policy, including ethics, privacy, legislation, and risk; fintech; code strategy; and cloud & edge computing for InformationWeek. He has been a journalist for more than 25 years, reporting on business and technology first in New Jersey, then covering the New York tech startup community, and later as a freelancer for such outlets as TheStreet, Investopedia, and Street Fight. Follow him on Twitter: @jpruth.

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