Black Mirror, a popular Twilight-Zone-style Netflix show, delves into profound questions about human existence and reflects on how technology impacts day-to-day life and interpersonal relationships. Many of the episodes, as dark and extreme as their illumination may be, put forth interesting and, at times, rather prophetic commentary. This commentary revolves around how a boundary-less acceptance of technological progress leads often not to a flourishing but a distortion, division, and destruction of human life.
One episode that caught my attention was “USS Callister” (season 4, ep. 1). The episode itself an homage to the Star Trek universe, the scene is set with Captain Robert Daly and his crew aboard a spaceship, the USS Callister, trying to defeat their arch-enemy Valdack. Captain Daly eventually saves the day and his crew members bathe him in praise and adoration. As we later learn, those on board the USS Callister are not as much his faithful crewmates as they are his virtual prisoners.
In reality, the whole scene on the starship is a virtual recreation of Daly’s favorite childhood show, “Star Fleet.” In the real world, Daly is the CTO at Callister Inc.—a company that owns and operates the virtual reality game called Infinity. We learn that over time, Daly secretly took the DNA of some of his co-workers and cloned them into his virtual Star Fleet world on his private home server.