Black Mirror : White Christmas question

White Christmas question

It seemed something of a strange concept to me that anyone would choose a "cookie" to work for them (which they would have to then break into submission), rather than, for instance, hire a personal assistant.

Yes, I understand that your cookie is you, and thus knows everything you like precisely the way you like it, but 1) those things can be communicated, and 2) there is very limited usefulness to a cookie seeing as how it doesn't have a body. If I were to hire help, the first and foremost things I would hire it for would be cleaning and cooking, not maintaining my calendar.

Especially considering, as far as I could gather from the context, that this option was only accessible to the wealthy.


Re: White Christmas question

Yes, it's a very strange concept. I guess it's because the wealthy have such busy calendars? Also, (I could be wrong), wasn't the cookie version also programming when she woke-up, and other aspects?

Re: White Christmas question

Yeah, it was like a smart house kind of thing, but the devices that can do that already exist now (Alexa, Google Home, etc).

In other words, you don't need another version of you for that.


Re: White Christmas question

Cookies are more personal and attuned to the individual person (as you could argue this is just another version of a human, and therefore retain a human quality without the pitfalls of needing to ever sleep or eat, etc.)

An app or device now, isn't watching me 24/7 and privy on such an intimate level, of what time I need and want to wake up or how I'd like to wake up.

Cookies I'd argue, are going to be for people who still want to retain a level of independence and isolation, one wouldn't have with hired help. You won't have to worry about your cookie going to the tabloids exploiting you, with help, that's a possibility.

Re: White Christmas question

I feel that the cookie isn't going to remain entirely accurate either. It's who you are at the moment it's created, but the real you who goes out into the world and gets influenced by everything is going to be a more evolved form than the snapshot cookie of you from before. What if she goes to the Nutcracker that night and decides she doesn't like classical music to wake her up anymore? How is that new preference transmitted to the cookie?

Re: White Christmas question

The cookie seems more an extension of the actual consciousness, or at least that's the impression I got of the mechanics of it from the episode in its entirety, that's the only way it makes sense for utilizing a cookie to extract information (that is emotionally charged mind you) to solve the murder/wrongful death case. I got the impression that there still might be some sort of, human quality and even bond between the two, which makes the ethics of this questionable.

Re: White Christmas question

But then why would I want anyone or anything to watch me 24/7?

Also, while the point about trying to profit off one's employer that you bring up is valid, it still doesn't negate the necessity for all the physical upkeep. Those people would still hire help.


Re: White Christmas question

It's your own self, it's not really a stalker or voyueridyic type thing. The cookie is sold probably in more technical terms and likened less to an actual being and more to a sophisticated operating system that knows and understands its owner on an initimate level?without threat of exploitation because of the breaking process (and unquestioned loyalty) that happens when the cookie first starts.

And it's not hard to suspend reality in this universe of this being a world that doesn't rely on typical human help.

Re: White Christmas question


It's your own self, it's not really a stalker or voyueridyic type thing.

I know, I am just saying I don't need round the clock help like that. I am not paralyzed or somehow disabled, and with the limited capabilities of a cookie, I can't imagine needing it more than a few minutes a day based on what it can offer.


And it's not hard to suspend reality in this universe of this being a world that doesn't rely on typical human help.

It's not? You mean their houses never need cleaning?
I am finding it insurmountable.

Re: White Christmas question

If the house needs to be cleaned and it can't be automated and handled by the cookie. Well the cookie can order the service. It would know the exact time the clutter would start bothering you, because it knows when it would bother it. And it would set it up for when you're outside the house.

Like they say in the episode it knows what temperature you like the house, what kind of groceries you like in the frig, when you want your alarm set, how you like the lightening when you read or watch a movie. It would know how warm you like your bath, what shows you'd like to watch. It's similar enough to you to know what you like at least 90% of the time. If not more. You want new clothes? It would go through the hassle of digging through the internet to find you the options that you'd like. How you like your coffee. How you like your window blinds.

If you go to the Nutcracker. I might even have an option to connect to your phone. If you don't like that performance it would probably know because it didn't like it.

I can see why people would want one. And I can see how cruel it is to that personality matrix to be broken in that way.

Clever things make people feel stupid and unexpected things make them feel scared

Re: White Christmas question

The online shopping thing is a good point - it's the only one of these that can take considerable time.

Note, however, that my original question was about wanting it exclusively, rather than wanting a cookie at all.


Re: White Christmas question

One main thing is that this isn't about time. It's about convenience. And unseen presence automatically adjusting your lighting for you. You can watch your own toast. You can brew your own coffee. But the cookie does those for you, exactly the way you like it so you don't have to. It's an accessory not a necessity. Like a remote control: A thing people can easily live without. And one a lot of people would rather not do without.


Note, however, that my original question was about wanting it exclusively, rather than wanting a cookie at all.



You'll have to expand on that. I don't quite get what you mean.


Clever things make people feel stupid and unexpected things make them feel scared

Re: White Christmas question

Like I said before, all those things add up to no more than a few minutes a day.


You'll have to expand on that. I don't quite get what you mean.

I am referring to getting a cookie to replace all other kinds of help.

Although (and I didn't think of this earlier), this thing would be extremely valuable if it could actually do your work for you, or at least a part of it. All of my work, for instance, is done on a computer, so there is no reason why my consciousness shouldn't be able to do it without my physical involvement.

They just didn't address using it as anything more than a personal assistant in the episode.


Re: White Christmas question


Like I said before, all those things add up to no more than a few minutes a day.


So? A few minutes a day. Coffee ready the way you like it as soon as you get out of the shower. The floor heat the way you like it. The room temperature. The lighting. All exactly the way you like it at that time of day. A few minutes per day. For the rest of your life. It adds up. I don't see why you can't see why someone would like that as a convenience.

Take it this way. It won't take you any effort to check your toilet paper to make sure you're not running out. But this way you never have to cause it'll do it for you. If you use pepper in your meals a lot it can keep track of how many grains or how much the can weighs on the counter and make sure you have more on hand. Simple things. That add up to less headaches for you.


I am referring to getting a cookie to replace all other kinds of help.


I don't see why it would be a replacement for all other help. I wouldn't even argue that point. I'd say it's a supplement. Something to calling the gardener. House cleaning. Caterers. Calling the salon to setup a hair appointment. Calling ahead to setup a place to lunch. Doing it exactly like you'd enjoy for that time of day/year to the minute detail. Minute details and idiosyncrasy in your personality that a human assistant/maid/butler would have to pick up on over the course of years. It wouldn't need to be feed, housed, or get extra pay. And it's on duty in your house 24/7.


Clever things make people feel stupid and unexpected things make them feel scared

Re: White Christmas question


So?

Hon, what was my original point?
That the thing is of very limited usefulness and therefore value, but seems to cost (based on what I could gather from the context, anyway) a LOT of money. Do you realize that a human personal assistant could do much more for a small fraction of the price?

It's okay, though, I don't want to beat this to death.


Re: White Christmas question

You think a human personal assistant can do much more for you in your own house? It's like the having a personal computer, but still upgrading to a smartphone over a dumbphone. Or getting a million dollar luxury car with tricked out sat radio and heated seats, when you can make do with an economy car. It's a convenience. That you can afford. Like installing heated floors in the first place when it's far cheaper to just put on some socks.

Still you're right. We'll probably never see eye to eye on it. So might as well not beat it to death.

Clever things make people feel stupid and unexpected things make them feel scared

Re: White Christmas question

Could have updates, like with iPhones?!

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The thing I didn't get about cookies was whether or not the person knew they were making a copy of their mind and then basically enslaving it.

Is a copy of yourself really the best choice to do all the things you feel you don't have time for? Wouldn't that copy feel the same way?
I know part of the process is breaking them so that they want to do it but that's even worse. Do you really want a mentally broken copy of yourself to control all the electronics in your house?

Re: White Christmas question


Is a copy of yourself really the best choice to do all the things you feel you don't have time for? Wouldn't that copy feel the same way?

Ha, that's an interesting point. It's just that after (what felt to her like) six months of psychological torture, she was begging for something to do.

Somebody above made a point that unlike human help, a cookie won't turn on you, but you are right, after what they have suffered through they may be unpredictable.


Re: White Christmas question

There's a nuanced time though, that a cookie is tortured for in order to make sure they're broken, but not ruined. I can't recall exactly, but I feel like they mad a throwaway comment about that a few times actually?once when Hamm's character was breaking the new assistant cookie and second when Hamm was interrogating the other cookie in jail.

I don't see this technology being sold as a separate consciousness but rather as maybe a more sophisticated and attuned AI service. I'm sure it's marketed more as code than consciousness or a separate being.

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Re: White Christmas question


The thing I didn't get about cookies was whether or not the person knew they were making a copy of their mind and then basically enslaving it.


That was kinda addressed by the murderer from the second half. While he had a horrid view of it ("it's barbaric"), neither the programmer or his client, did. Morality is an abstract concept that varies from person to person. What is moral is in the eye of the beholder.

In this case it seemed to be more of a matter of what an individual interpreted as what is a form of life. To those who are more empathic, it is repulsive. To those who aren't as empathic, it's just a better version of a toaster. It doesn't make one more "wrong" than another.


I know part of the process is breaking them so that they want to do it but that's even worse. Do you really want a mentally broken copy of yourself to control all the electronics in your house?


The programmer, was an expert in "configuring" cookies. He described how you have to know when not to push too far in order to avoid what you were describing. Having a "broken" cookie would be the exception, not the norm. The cookie industry was implied to be a booming industry and as common as is having higher end consumer electronics, is today.

They all knew what they were doing, it's just that some didn't think badly of it. Not to mention, it was a social norm by that point. Some people love to ride horses, but don't realize that in order to do so, you must break the horse's spirit to do it. It's also like eating meat. If most people knew and saw how a cow is slaughtered and butchered, more than a few wouldn't eat meat anymore. People do know that their meat was a living being, yet discount it for the "prize". These are social norms. Getting a "cookie" isn't much different.

This is kind of the point (and moral) of the series as a whole. How technology can shape our social viewpoint.



"the world's smartest man poses no more threat to me than does its smartest termite." -Dr. Manhattan

Re: White Christmas question

They had a cartoon character run for office. You're not supposed to take it too seriously.

Re: White Christmas question

What does that have to do with White Christmas?


Re: White Christmas question

My biggest issue with the cookies is that, no matter how advanced technology becomes and accepting people are of it, NO court of law would ever accept the testimony of one as admissible. At least, I have a hard time believing that they would. Not in America, maybe British law is different.
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