fbpx
29/05/2020 The Communication Science magazine

Bandersnatch’s future in data mining

Black Mirror’s new interactive movie ‘Bandersnatch’ is revolutionary in many ways. But what are its implications for data mining?


Released in late December 2018, Black Mirror’s ‘Bandersnatch’ has been a hit amongst both critics and fans alike due to its innovative choose-your-own-adventure style. However, this may also be a concern for the possibility of data mining on Netflix’s behalf. With its branching storylines, the developers of Black Mirror would have to integrate a program that delivered for this type of story. While that seems innocuous, this process of data mining might result in a treasure trove of a consumer’s choices made during the narrative.

Bandersnatch revolves around a game programmer, Stefan who is currently designing a game of the same name. As the story progresses, his grip on reality loosens and we get to decide how the story ends. With at least five main endings, the interactive film offers an excellent insight into what the future of interactive storytelling would be.

A new, revolutionary software
To prepare for the multiple endings, Netflix had developed software called Branch Manager. The Hollywood Reporter writes, “The map [of Bandersnatch] outlines state-tracking options that occur at the beginning of the episode, all the possible paths along the way and a series of if-then options at the end showing how a viewer can arrive at each ending.” Hence, the end result was closer to several flowcharts and endless options loosely held together. The choices the show prompts us to make regarding Stefan’s life, ranging from mundane options (cereal brand) to drastic ones (murder).

Furthermore, Branch Manager is equipped with a state tracker that consciously tracks and records viewer options. Together with numerous Easter eggs, this motivates the audience to replay the story in order to explore and achieve the multiple endings that the creators had promised. Due to the success that Bandersnatch has achieved, Netflix has also announced its plans to develop more interactive stories with the same program.

The possibility of data mining
However, Branch Manager’s state tracker can also bring up several questions regarding the use of Netflix’s users’ data being used for advertising. At the start, we are prompted to choose between two cereal brands; Frosties or Sugar Puffs. Users’ choices could be recorded, which implies that Netflix and its partners would be able to use the data to determine consumers’ interests. While this doesn’t mean that you’ll see a rise in Sugar Puffs sales any time soon, it subtly influences what Netflix would show to you.

Bandersnatch allows the company to take advertising to much subtler levels

Netflix’s use of your data has been well-documented, but Bandersnatch allows the company to take advertising to much subtler levels. Based on the choices you make and how many times you choose to replay the story, they might suggest shows or movies that align with your interests and your beliefs; as a result, you’re more likely to watch more shows that piqued your interest.

Its own worst nightmare
Black Mirror has always been a show centered around technology. Many of its episodes describe situations in which individuals are offered for public consumption, especially by corporations (Fifteen Million Merits, White Bear). As a result, it has been noted by many that Black Mirror’s use of a state tracker was ironic; after all, Black Mirror has encouraged many of its viewers to take a more critical look of technology and how it is an intrinsic part of our everyday life in this age and society.

In a way, Black Mirror’s use of Branch Manager can be its own worse nightmare: the constant monitoring of the choices and data Netflix users have mirrored the contemporary societies that Black Mirror denounces as oppressive or authoritarian.

Cover: Bandersnatch/Netflix
Editor: Mana Reed Stutchbury

Reacties

reacties

Related Posts

An Ode to Us

26/05/2020

26/05/2020

Kyle shares an uplifting reflection on why younger generations should be acknowledged for their effort in fighting against the spread of COVID-19.

Lucifer: Bringer of Divine Epiphanies

21/05/2020

21/05/2020

Andrada dives into the infernal territory as she discusses the meaning behind the show Lucifer.

The Art of Photography in the Days of Corona: Interview with Berk Kır

18/05/2020

18/05/2020

In this article, Melike interviews photographer Berk Kır about his art in the days of corona.

GRLSWIRL: Girls Power Swirls On Four Wheels

18/05/2020

18/05/2020

Cecilia tells all about this revolutionary all-girls skateboarding community GRLSWIRL, that has gone worldwide.

The TikTok Challenges You Should Try Right Now

15/05/2020

15/05/2020

In this article, Hope gives helpful tips on how to entertain yourself with the newest trend, TikTok.

Call Me Maybe

11/05/2020

11/05/2020

Do you remember what it is like to make a phone call? Do you even remember how to make one? Margarete refreshes your memory and gives some practical advice to keep in touch the primal way.

Visualizing the Unseen: An Interview with Shivani Bharadwaj

10/05/2020

10/05/2020

The story of a powerful woman; Shivani Bharadwaj, and how she manages to light a hope in her dearest student's life with the help of arts.

Talk Show Hosts Fighting a Lonely Audience-less Battle in Quarantined Homes

10/05/2020

10/05/2020

The big Late Night Talk show hosts had to shift their programs to their private homes. Medium explains how they struggle but also succeed with the absence of live audiences.

Confettiregen: het boek waarvan je hoopt dat iedereen het zal lezen

08/05/2020

08/05/2020

Confettiregen is het nieuwe boek van Splinter Chabot waarin hij vertelt over zijn eigen coming-out. Loïs vertelt over het boek en hoopt dat iedereen het gaat lezen.

Quarantine Photocolumn Special #1: Work Stations

06/05/2020

06/05/2020

For Medium Magazine's first collaborative photocolumn, the theme is work stations. As students are working and doing their coursework from home during the pandemic, they have to make use of what is available to them. Writers, editors and the editorial board (who recently won the Medium Pub quiz), all pitch in to show where their work stations at home.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Activism

05/05/2020

05/05/2020

This article explores the positive side of Fandoms, specifically The Harry Potter Alliance. By asking themselves, ‘What would Albus do?’ Harry Potter fans are making a difference.

Backstage Interview With Gilda Bruno

03/05/2020

03/05/2020

Gilda, former Audiovisuals Chief for Medium, shares her experience on what it has been like to work for DAZED Media as part of her internship placement.

15 stages of a short-lived relationship according to ‘Dedicated’

02/05/2020

02/05/2020

A year after its release, Danny takes another look at Carly Rae Jepsen's vivacious album 'Dedicated', which covers a truly recognizable lovestory.

Digital Proctoring: A New Era in Student Surveillance

01/05/2020

01/05/2020

The shift to online education has changed the learning experience of students from all academic levels. As higher-education institutions insist on maintaining exam evaluations, this calls for digital proctoring. Although digital proctoring may not sound menacing, Karina delves into its implications and potential privacy breaches.

The War Zone of K-Pop Twitter

01/05/2020

01/05/2020

While many enjoy Korean Pop only for the music, the fans on Twitter seem to focus on everything else. Emma provides an outline of the latest K-Pop drama.

mersin escort mersin escort mersin escort canlı tv konya escort
mersin escort