Black Mirror’s Be Right Back: The Possibilities for a Digital Afterlife

Immortal digital existence
In the current digital media and information society, the stories, images and voices we leave behind tell the story of who we are. Online data has become synonymous to our identity. Digital media empowers us. But its inseparable presence in our lives has the potential to have consequences that go beyond death. Data is the underlying theme of our digital death. What if your data were used to create an afterlife digital presence that could communicate in your own style of thinking and speaking? This could become a reality for those of us who are actively involved in the digital world. We now have to deal with privacy concerns, issues of power, and the need to remember & forget. The construction of these affordances in a curation toward death causes more frightening concerns about western societies and our role within them. How do we remember in the digital age when our immortality can be recreated to live forever?

The first episode of Black Mirror’s Season 2, ‘Be Right Back,’ confronts us in a haunting way with our fears about dealing with the death of a loved one. The episode shows the fragility of human beings when dealing with death and how we choose to remember. This episode shows how technology can create artificial intelligences that think, talk and sound like humans. Black Mirror is the dystopian Netflix show that offers a future which seems eerily similar to ours. Its main success is due to the sci-fi aspect that borders on reality. The black mirrors that we see every day, screens, and technology that dominate our lives are a reflection that is already present.


Immortal Digital Existence

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