The episode ‘Hang the DJ’ from Season 4 of Black Mirror is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the show – it has a double whammy of superb acting from Georgina Campbell and Joe Cole and a really compelling storyline about modern love and its intersection with technology.
And one of the most interesting tech developments on the episode is Coach – a stern and slightly creepy dating device that finds you matches and tells you how long you’ll be with someone.
Now for Valentine’s Day, Netflix has released an online Coach that you can use to find out how long your relationship will last. Once you head over to the site, you’ll be asked to share a URL with a significant other. Then, you need to make sure you both click on the device at the same time (just like in the show).
After a few seconds your relationship expectancy will be revealed! I tried it with my Stylist colleague Emily and we got a strong 12 years. I have to say I’m pretty chuffed with that (although I’m not sure what my boyfriend will say…)
There’s a sneaky little trick though – if you don’t agree to find out your relationship expectancy and instead let the time run out, the device will say: “CONGRATULATIONS. You both chose not to reveal your expiry date. You have found your ultimate match.”
For fans of the show, you’ll know that this is hinting at the main characters’ ultimate escape from the Black Mirror AI dating prison.
While this is all a bit of fun, there is actually a darker side to some of the technology on the show. I spoke to a bunch of tech experts recently about how close we are to having the technology from each Black Mirror episode.
About the Coach device, Dr. Adjmal Sarwary, CEO of neuro-tech company mindtrace, told me: “Doing something like this could be done today - but if it’s implemented like in the episode it would require huge amounts of data. Legally, I don’t see a problem if the users consent to it. Morally the question arises: ‘What is love and is there a formula for happiness?’”
Plus, not long ago we wrote about how developers are even trying to link dating and sexual consent to a bitcoin-like blockchain. You can read all about that bleak technology here.
And click here to try the online Coach for yourself.
Happy Valentine’s Day people ( we are all doomed).
(Images: Netflix / Black Mirror)