The X Files had a message about technology for its viewers this week, and they made sure to really program it into us. Just like an episode of Black Mirror, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were living in a world completely run by artificial intelligence. The freaky part of it all? Some of it seemed all too familiar.
The episode, titled "Rm9sbG93ZXJz," opened with a brief story about the actual artificial intelligence chatbot that Microsoft launched on Twitter on March 23, 2016. "Tay" was designed to mimic the language patterns of a 19-year-old girl as an experiment to better understand how humans interact on social media. However, Tay ultimately became offensive, racist and hateful on Twitter, which led to the company completely shutting her down.
Cut to Mulder and Scully (on date night we hope?) having dinner at a sushi restaurant running solely by artificial intelligence. The entire experience was clearly a little odd to them, but not as strange as the rest of the night was about to become.
After refusing to pay a tip for the (lack of) service, the restaurant suddenly shut down, and locked the doors, with the two still inside. Mulder and Scully managed to break out of the restaurant. Unfortunately, that was only the catalyst to what would become all of our worst A.I. nightmares.
From self-driving cars to drones delivering packages, the episode was chock-full of technological woes, including feeling like like our smart devices are listening to us, having to prove that we are not a robot, too many notifications, and targeted advertising that makes you think: how did my phone know I was thinking about that? And the scariest part about this episode, is the fact that this could actually be our future, and soon. Just, hopefully, without a destructive smart house, hostile drones and extremely intimidating dog-like robots.
The episode came to a head when Mulder and Scully found themselves cornered by a robot, presenting Mulder's phone to him. Mulder took his phone, which read, "Last chance to tip." So, the moral of the story is- always tip your servers. Just kidding. The actual message is- live in the moment and don't let technology take over your life, because like Elon Musk says: