A day ago I binge-watched Upload on Amazon Prime. It seemed like a romcom ten minutes in. A man struggling to tell his girlfriend what he truly feels about her, she having too much power over him. The mix of sex, power and money seems the villain, fuelled by technology. Then, came a rather metal-breaking twist.
I saw the story unfold with horror and awe. A recent presentation by the team at Facebook came to mind. It was about the use of Virtual Reality for people to feel closer to each other despite being geographically apart by a degree of several countries. Being under lockdown and at the mercy of technology to be in contact with people I care about, it sure seems a very tempting offer. Can you imagine what it could do to (not so) long distance relationships and employment opportunities!
However, the above was the awe. The rest, was horror. Spoiler alert: I am not a fan of the idea of living forever. It’s tiring. As Dumbledore put it best: To a well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure.
The horror was not so much about the scope of technology but the need and greed of mortal humans on the screen using it. They would go to many lengths to ensure they could live forever, happily so. It’s scary. While the co-relation of power and responsibility is much discussed, it is important to understand that tools cannot be blamed for the deeds of the users.
A knife is not responsible for a murder nor a software for the execution of surveillance or theft. Just because a tool is at your disposal, it doesn’t mean you have to use in the worst way possible! Humans are responsible for the decisions they take and the consequences that follow.
Of course, each person affected by the deed may not be responsible for it. All we can do is hope that the ones in power find it in themselves to be kind and rational. And that there are enough hurdles and rules and reality-checks in place to make sure they don’t go stray.
In regards to the show: I loved the depth of graphics and the way actors kept the humane alive in a world where everything is unreal, literally. The narrative is peppered with humour and is easily palatable. It keeps you from going insane thinking of the darkness and ill-effects of capitalism, as rightfully depicted in the show.
The only thing that really frustrated me was the protagonist’s inability to counter her overbearing girlfriend. Come on, man!
I love coming across multi-dimensional characters in stories, something the show didn’t have much space for. It happened but not as much as I would have liked, especially with the female characters. To me, backstories seemed riddled with clichés.
Wish there was as much depth to the characters as was to technology, which the show definitely does justice to. Now we await Season 2!
The still used in the feature image belongs to Amazon Prime.