The ‘Black Mirror’ is real!

“The ‘black mirror’ of the title is the one you’ll find … in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a smartphone.” Writer-director Charlie Brooker, inspired by that image, created his dystopian television series about the unintended consequences of our technological revolution. The metaphor is spot-on: Inside our devices, what do we find? A world algorithmically programmed for each of us alone.

What I see in my device is not what you see in your device. Increasingly, the world we see online is a world programmed to reflect our own interests and beliefs. The individuals, entities or algorithms generating content are themselves programmed to maximize our engagement—they exist only to generate clicks—and they’ve learned that the best thing, for click-production, is fear. And fear’s crazy cousin, paranoia.

As a result, the world we find in the palms of our hands can be more terrifying than any episode of Black Mirror.

A related phenomenon amplifies the insanity: with this thing in every hand, every individual can believe that they know everything. No longer info-slaves to journalistic gatekeepers or intellectual authorities, each individual can create their own truth. This has nurtured an epidemic of hyper-cynicism; a nation too jaded to believe any good news they hear, yet prone to believe the most unbelievably dark tale.

And so, some of our neighbors can produce published proof that the tragic 2017 mass-school-shooting in Tehama County was a false-flag event staged by the gun-grabbing government. Others are convinced that Planned Parenthood is a plot to decimate the African-American population. On 4Chan, we learn that the Deep State is plotting a military “Storm” against patriot Donald Trump. The Golden State Killer’s brother was in on the crime. And of course, UFOs are real!

The truth is dead. Long live the Internet.

RIP Anna

We were saddened to hear that an ex-staffer, Anna Barela, passed away earlier this month. Anna’s writing and editing helped launch the N&R Publications division, which has now produced over 400 publications for nonprofits and other organizations. She will be greatly missed.