The Psychology of Black Mirror — "The Entire History of You"

In this episode, Michael and Corey break down the third episode of Black Mirror, "The Entire History of You." The episode covers the psychology of cheating and memory. Stay tuned for future recaps and psychological analyses.

This episode was written by Jesse Armstrong, who is the only other writer of Black Mirror, and sold the film rights to Robert Downey, Jr. who will be producing a film version of this episode sometime in the near future. 

Entertainment Weekly, Digital Spy, The Wrap, all named "The Entire History of You" the top episode of all time. It's a good one, and we think it's because of how blatantly relatable it is.

In the beginning of the episode, Liam is in a sort of job interview. His current job with the company was being questioned in an awkward interview, where the guy says "We really hope to look forward to seeing you again."

Liam then goes to the dinner party and we meet his wife, Ffion. The constant state of paranoia in this episode is tense, thick in the air, to say the very least. It only matters because you're focusing on it, and this is a theme carried through as they all talk about the "Grain and recording your memories.

 
 

Memory Loss

There are two ways we forget things: 1. Totally Gone and 2. rolling around in your head somewhere, just inaccessible. Michael compares a memory getting weaker over time to a lightening bolt dimming over time. The memory is as far as we know—infinite. But your memory is a muscle, just like your attention span. By having this technology, you don't need to be in the moment, so your ability to do it dwindles over time. An example of this is the GPS/Siri function on a phone, making our navigation skills die out, because we don't have to use it. 

Michael says Millennials are more likely than seniors (ages 55+) to forget what day it is. Our attention span is growing ever-shorter as a result of our integrated technology.

Neo-Luddism

There is a girl named Hallam in the episode, "The Entire History of You" that goes grain-less. And in today's tech-ridden society, there is a movement, called Neo-Luddism, a leader-less program of people who practice an anti-technology mindset. Their main philosophy is to revert back to a more primitive level. 

When Liam and Fion get home from the party, they get into a major fight about Jonas, the man at the party that Liam suspected, and it turns out they had an actual relationship, and Ffion's credibility goes at the window as she's caught in several lies.


If you're jonesin' for more "record your memories" dystopian sci-fi, try these movies I found:

"Brainstorm" (1983)

"Strange Days" (1995)

"The Final Cut" (2004)

finalcut.jpg

The Psychology of Cheating

There is one thing that most of us can come to a consensus on: most of the world's population. As many as 10-25% of married couples in  the US experienced infidelity during their marriage. Typical, there are three reasons people cheat: Emotional reasons, physical reasons, and practical reasons. Emotional reasons are the strongest ties, and mostly women tend to be more emotionally driven. Men tend to be more sexually driven.            


This Tech Exists

CNN released an article less than a year ago divulging that Google has submitted a patent for an optical implant. Other companies (Sony and Samsung), have released patents for camera contact lenses, but Google's implant is as close to this "Entire History of You" tech that's out there. Also, there was a guy named Rob Spence who got rid of his blind eyeball to insert an eyeball-shaped camera that can take up to 3 minutes of video. The implications for the societal impact of this tech would be never-ending.

—Corey Stewart
@corstew91 on twitter