Black Mirror 4.1. USS Callister

USS Callister

Values: God like

The intro to the TV series “Spaceship Enterprise” from 1966 became world famous:

“The space, endless spaces. It’s the year 2200. These are the adventures of the Starship Enterprise, with its 400-man crew for 5 years exploring new worlds, new lives and new civilizations. Many light-years from Earth, the Enterprise invades galaxies that no one has ever seen before. ”

The first episodes were still broadcast in black and white. A multicultural team on the bridge and that with women in senior positions was something completely new and alien. “Can the women fly a spaceship, where they could hardly drive.” To top it off, there was Mr. Spock with bat-like ears and no feelings. Today, this might be called an android living thing with AI. This expedition was led by Captain Kirk. Although he represents an executive in the old style, but already with a collegial touch. The team solved a very difficult problem every week and there was always a happy ending.

Kirk was a role model for many executives. As a result, team cultures have developed in the companies and companies. The executives became creators to whom no problem was too big. Spaceship Enterprise had special resources, such as beamer, mobile phone and laser. These devices were still very futuristic back then. The resulting films such as Star Track and Star Wars have shown the generation of that time a utopian world.

There was an awareness that everything was possible. All you need is an intelligent team, enough technology and an exceptional leader. So many American presidents and executives of large companies have adopted this behavior. Ultimately, this is also reflected in the MBA training. All in all, it can be said that Starship Enterprise shaped the global culture of the 20th century and reflected the culmination of utopian films.

The male TV viewers have often identified with Captain Kirk and the then feminists with Lieutenant Nyota Uhura. Nevertheless, it was two completely separate worlds. The spectators were on the outside and the cast actors on the TV. At the end of each episode, it was all over again and the consumers were back in their own lives and destiny. Even if there was hardly any chance of realization for the utopian devices, they were soon adopted into the usage of language (phaser). Some technophilosophists are of the opinion that this was the prerequisite for today’s ongoing technological development.

Unfortunately, this wonderful utopian world did not last very long with all-rounder Kirk and his DreamTeam. At the latest at the time of the appearance of the Matrix films, the utopias were over. As represented in Matrix man, living in a test tube, it is the apocalypse par excellence. From that point on, there were hardly any utopian films. The trend then went to productions such as Terminator, Independence Day, extinction, and much more. The two decades before and after the millennium were typically apocalyptic. The millennium change itself and the end time of the Mayan calendar have also contributed to this.

Only in the last few years has one strayed from this end-time mood and changed into a gloomy (sinister) future expectation. The pollution, the expected artificial intelligence and the development of a social-elitist stratum are scary, but they do not completely destroy the world.

Black Mirror has from the beginning of this dystopian future expectation and shows it again and again in oppressive form. At the end of each episode you are almost frustrated or at least very thoughtful. In the current episode, however, there is a “happy ending”.

In the intro to USS Callister you can see in 4: 3 format a short episode as it could have been on Star Trek. The captain is now called Daly. In the meantime, there are even more women on the bridge and the scenes follow the same pattern. A problem arises, which is always solved by a team with an extraordinary captain. The Captain Robert Daly is really something special.

The company Callister was founded by the two gentlemen James Walton and Robert Daly. The two have developed an extraordinary computer game. With Infinity, the viewer is directly integrated into the action via a mental connector. While Robert was the programming genius, Walton has managed to lead the company to a global brand.

The two company owners could not be more different. Walton an exhibitionist and Robert a closed-minded, introverted and personality-afflicted man. Many employees of the company Callister do not even know that this “funny” guy is their boss. He is bullied by many and ridiculed by everyone. Due to his personality and mental structure, he is not able to counter anything. But because he is a real computer genius, he has devised revenge in a completely different way.

Robert has developed a new instance of the game which he did not put online and only he had access to. By itself, this version represents a remake of Spaceship Enterprise as an interactive game.

There is a special feature and these are the actors. These are exactly those real life employees who have been particularly affected by the displeasure of Robert Daly. From these colleagues, he stole a DNA, created a virtual life from this and then transferred to the spacecraft USS Callister programmatically. These crewmembers have a slightly changed body (no sexual needs) – but the brain is a copy of the real.

These crew members now live on the spaceship and are being bullied by Robert if he logs on to the game. For example, he uses his business partner Walton as a living scraper. The crew has to pay homage to him after a successful problem solving like a god and the women are allowed to kiss him. Robert does everything he wants in the real world, but he is not able to do that there.

Robert hears the ringing on his front door while he is in the game. When the pizza guy rings, he has to get out, then the crew members are free and can spend their time relaxing. However, there is no end to it. You do not die in the game. The only thing the members know is that it always gets extremely unpleasant when Robert gets in. They live in a painful and eternal wakefulness form.

New colleague Nanette Cole immediately attracted the displeasure of Robert Daly as she talks only to James Walton. He takes her DNA and installs her immediately into the game. She has two lives – the real and the cloned. The real does not know anything about her other destiny. Cole does not take the tyranny of Robert to the knowledge and actually finds a way out. Nanette Cole blackmails herself. She knows that in actual life she has sexist imagery in her photo gallery and that’s what blackmail is all about. The real Nanette is assigned to penetrate into the real apartment of Robert and update the game – which is also successful.

For Robert Daly, the role of captain was only possible because he made a mistake in the game. The update also eliminated the bug and Robert was unable to pursue his tyranny. The crew members were freed from him, but live “if they have not died, happy in the spaceship USS Casteller”.

In contrast to the TV series Raumschiff Enterprise, the viewer is no longer outside but as an actor inside. If everything goes smoothly, the consumers have wonderful experiences. But it could also be different: trapped in a virtual world with real awareness and immeasurable suffering. You could be scared of that before now.

USS Callister

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