Discover more from Infinite Loops
White Mirror, S1E1
Announcing results of the "White Mirror" challenge
A couple of weeks back we launched a challenge asking our audience to submit scripts for “White Mirror”—a positive spin to Black Mirror episodes.
We did this for the same reason that we do most of the things at Infinite Loops, which is “This sounds like a fun idea, let’s try it out!”, and given the incredible stories we received, boy are we glad we did that!
It is now time to share the fun we had going through these scripts, and announce the winner.
Starting today, we will be sharing our favorite submissions via this newsletter, one script a day. The scripts will be shared in no specific order, except for the runner-up script on Day 6, and winner of the $1,000 cash prize on Day 7.
The results haven’t been shared with the winners yet so this is going to be a surprise for everyone, plus we have another reward planned for both the runner-up and the winner! So stay tuned :)
Now on to the first script, written by Twitter user @on_giants:
White Mirror, S1E1
The classroom was buzzing. “How did you find it?” “It was hard, I thought.” “Me too, but pretty cool, right?” “I wish I had seen this in grade, like, zero.” “How did anyone ever learn this stuff before?”
The teacher walked in. “Ok, ok everyone welcome to class. Did everyone get logged into the new immersive adaptive curriculum yesterday? The school board council has invested a lot to give you this access.”
Actually with the new immersive adaptive system, teachers were less teachers, and more guides. But the union had generally seemed ok with that. It still gave plenty of opportunities for the teachers to work with the students.
“How you are all interacting with it?” The teacher pulled up an activity summary on the display. “Who wants to share their experience.”
Half the class raised their hands. The teacher picked one of his students, “Yes, Amelia?” “Ok, I thought it was pretty cool. I went into the math area and explored derivatives using geometry.”
“Oh good for you. Did you find the content understandable?” asked the teacher. “Well yes you kind of have to, to advance through it” replied Amelia. “It was hard but also kind of intuitive.”
“Well that’s good” the teacher said. “That means it’s working. It’s designed to push your capabilities pretty constantly. The easy ride does not work. You have to explore, try and fail, understand, and then it will move you along. But if you get stuck, we’re here for you.”
“Anyone else?” the teacher asked. He picked another. “Jesse”. “Yeah I was in the math area too but I was studying complexity.” “Oh neat – what in particular?” “Self organized criticality” responded Jesse. “Oh that’s interesting – what did you think of it?”
“It was cool. It had me designing cellular automata.” “Any big takeaways?” asked the teacher. “Actually it’s pretty tough to build systems that feel ‘alive’.” “I think we should spend some time on that one this semester. Thanks for sharing. Anyone else?”
“Me!” said Aisha. The teacher pulled up Aisha’s profile. “Aisha, you were in the cumulative knowledge stack. That’s new this year. What did you think?” asked the teacher.
“Oh it’s this weird library where every book is a room with a historical thinker. When you open a book you see the person at a desk with all their sources. You can talk to them and they can give you a tour of where they got each idea.”
“Wow, that’s neat. What did you learn?” asked the teacher. “Well, the biggest thing is the cumulative nature of knowledge. You can go down some serious wormholes. You can also look at thinkers by era and I thought it was very cool to see concurrent discovery” said Aishia.
“Well class, these are very astute observations. I am impressed.” “Ughh. Sorry this is just too much” came a monotone voice from the back of the class. “What’s wrong Bill?” asked the teacher. “The program gave me, like, massive anxiety.” “Why?”
“I couldn’t decide where to go. And I don’t really get the point” said Bill. “The point is to explore” responded the teacher. “For anyone feeling anxiety, just remember, there’s no playbook any more. This curriculum is meant to be explored.”
“There’s no competition. We did away with grades a decade ago. Explore ideas. In you senior year it becomes applied.” The teacher looked back at Bill.
“Yeah I know all that. But I still don’t get the point. We’re going to firehose information into our brain and go be little cogs in the machine. Like, no thanks.”
“Ok, I think I understand where you’re coming from now. Actually I think a lot of people can relate to that thought” said the teacher. After a pause, he continued. “I want you to give it another shot, and I’ve got some people I think you should visit in the knowledge stack.”
“Who?” asked Bill. “The existentialists”, answered the teacher. Bill looked a bit skeptical at his teacher, then shrugged his shoulders. “Fine, I’ll try it.” “Thank you. Let me know how it goes.” The teacher paused. “Has anyone else been to the knowledge stacks?”
Bennett raised his hand. “What did you learn?” asked the teacher. “Well I thought the old timers were pretty backwards and pretty limited in what they knew” answered Bennett. The class burst out laughing.
“That’s interesting” said the teacher. “I’ll tell you something. You might be right. You’re all very fortunate in a way. You have access to way more knowledge, information, and context than ever before. You are like super-intellects compared to most humans in history.”
“But in a way your experience is not so different from our ancestors. You will struggle just like the ‘old timers’ to advance. We all have the same struggle” said the teacher. “See, I told you this was pointless” said Bill.
“No Bill, there is a key difference between you and previous generations. What differs is how much you can achieve” said the teacher. “Don’t worry Bill, at this pace we’ll be done soon” said Bennett. The class laughed. “No, but seriously when are we done?” asked Bill.
The teacher responded, “You have a long way to go.” “How long?” asked Bill. “We move to applied next year so presumably we don’t have that long.” “Let’s just say you are closer to the beginning than the end” said the teacher.
“I need you to quantify it for me” said Bill. “Ok fine then class, you really want to know?” “Yes!” the class yelled. “You haven’t even started yet, you’re at the beginning of infinity.”