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Black Mirror's "Bandersnatch" episode (Credit: Netflix)

The future envisioned by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is straight out of Black Mirror

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Sep 28, 2020, 5:50 PM EDT (Updated)

Things that were once believed to be no more than science fiction have come into being before (like humans landing on the moon), but how many times has a major political figure predicted a future that reads like the script for the next sci-fi blockbuster?

Yesterday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the U.N. General Assembly with one of the more imaginative political speeches we've heard in a while. Throughout the course of his speech, Johnson managed to cover mind-reading A.I., killer Terminator-esque robots, and limbless chickens at your table. Has he secretly been conspiring with Netflix to write the entire next season of Black Mirror? Who knows, but his ideas make it sound like he certainly could, as you can hear for yourself in the video below (via The Guardian).

"You may keep secrets from your friends, from your parents, your children, your doctor — even your personal trainer — but it takes real effort to conceal your thoughts from Google," Johnson warned.

The trope of sentient computers reading our minds is nothing new in the realm of science fiction. While neural interfaces may give humans telepathic powers that could enable communication without speaking — something Neuralink founder Elon Musk is really excited about — they are primarily being developed for the victims of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s right now. Will megacorps like Google find their way in somehow if we do end up building a whole mental network? That question will probably come attached to some heavy ethics.

"A.I., what will it mean?” asked Johnson. “Helpful robots washing and caring for an ageing population, or pink-eyed terminators sent back from the future to cull the human race?"

The Terminator

The Terminator (Credit: Orion Pictures)

The Terminator’s eyes are actually red, but that’s besides the point. Johnson was referencing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cyborg assassin who was sent back in time to prevent the birth of a single human being who would found the counter-movement to a defense network looking to spark a nuclear holocaust. Robots going sentient is another sci-fi trope that has survived for decades. Sure, we love to freak ourselves out with sci-fi-horror flicks, but what about benevolent robots like Rosie from The Jetsons? Can’t see her driving a car through a police station, can you?

“What will synthetic biology stand for — restoring our livers and our eyes with miracle regeneration of the tissues, like some fantastic hangover cure?” Asked Johnson, but his line of questioning quickly turned dystopian. “Or will it bring terrifying limbless chickens to our tables?"

Biological advances do mean hope for transplant patients in the future. If someone could grow a mini doppelganger of a brain in a lab, it seems almost anything is possible. Cellular regeneration isn't just for transplants. Nightmares of limbless chickens aside, cellular agriculture could actually be a thing sooner than you think — especially when we may have to consider how to feed people on Mars if we really do start a human colony on the Red Planet. Meat produced by breeding cells in a petri dish could also be a more sustainable solution for feeding our own planet’s population.

With all the intensity that Johnson used to describe his visions for the future, no matter your political opinion of him, at least you can agree he would make a fantastic sci-fi narrator, right?

(via Business Insider)


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