Black Mirror poses tons of surreal scenarios involving technology, but the line between fantasy and reality is a little blurry when it comes to the show's depiction of social media and our societal obsession with it. This isn't lost on Bryce Dallas Howard, who is thoroughly freaked out by how we're only “a click away” from the Rate-A-Human nature presented in the the first episode of the program's third series.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Howard admits to being a social media newb. She didn't join any network until a month before shooting for the “Nosedive” episode — the one in which she aspires to be a perfect 5 in a society that legit rates humans, where someone's worth as a person could get docked as though they were a bad Uber driver or something — but that doesn't mean that she doesn't understand how dangerous that approval-based mindset can be, or how realistic it is to lose yourself in it.
“It could absolutely happen,” she tells THR, connecting “Nosedive” to what we're already dealing with in the real world.
“It is happening already with Uber and Airbnb and Yelp. These tools, oftentimes, they serve us until we become a slave to it. That doesn’t mean forgo it completely, but it's ultimately about that impossible balance we’re all striving for. What really signifies to me how close this all is, is that I wish there were more rules as to how to win. We’re figuring out social media and what it means and what it is supposed to represent, if there’s value to it or not. There’s a lot of speculation as to what this all does mean, and not just monetarily, but culturally, and in terms of relationships with one another and how we communicate. I wish someone could tell me, ‘Oh, people like to read things like this and that.’ It’s this thing that’s challenging you to be authentic because there aren’t quite rules yet, and you can’t trick people or trick yourself. You can't not pay attention to it because, still, the only rule is to be yourself and that’s one of the hardest things a person can ask another person to be.”
Has this changed how she uses social media at all? It's definitely made her aware of its impact and the power it has, for sure. “Participating in social media actually isn't being imposed upon us and yet, it feels like it is, because so quickly the relevant voices are the most prominent on those channels,” she said. “We can’t totally walk away from it and yet you have to be so cautious in how you engage with that kind of power, which is the power to broadcast anything you want at any moment to absolutely everyone.”
Preach, BDH. (And hey, we only turned away from this article to check newsfeeds and Twitter, like, twice.)