Have you managed to watch this series, Mr Robot, available on Amazon Prime since last year. I’ve managed to watch the first series over the past couple of weeks.
Elliot Alderson is a young cyber-security engineer living in New York, who assumes the role of a vigilante hacker by night. Elliot meets a mysterious anarchist known as “Mr. Robot” who recruits Elliot to join his team of hackers, “fsociety”. Elliot, who has a social anxiety disorder and connects to people by hacking them, is intrigued but uncertain if he wants to be part of the group. The show follows Mr. Robot’s attempts to engage Elliot in his mission to destroy the corporation Elliot is paid to protect. Compelled by his personal beliefs, Elliot struggles to resist the chance to take down the multinational CEOs that are running (and ruining) the world. Written by Soumik Ghosh. Read more on IMDB.
The thing I’d most heard about Mr Robot was that after watching it I would want to throw my digital devices away and never go online again. I don’t feel that at all – I am well aware of privacy concerns/hacker possibilities – especially via Thinking Digital conference, and although we definitely need to look at addressing those concerns, I think not going online would be the digital equivalent of agoraphobia – life is not risk free, online life is not risk free – so we should have care about what we share online, careful choice of passwords (nearly all the hackers in the film were able to crack passwords using easily guessable data), and generally learn about the environment we are on. As I may have said – just once or twice – there are so many opportunities online – let’s seize them.
I was more drawn in by questions of knowledge and of identity. In episode 3 – Elliot says that he knows everything about Shayla because he has access to all of her online space, and believes that he therefore has a bigger insight into her ‘reality’ than those who just meet her ‘offline’ self. They then meet and have a conversation about something she loves but has never put online – and he gains a new insight to her (reminded me of ‘Be Right Back‘, Black Mirror). Christian Slater, as Mr Robot, always insists on meeting Elliot offline, as the hacker group needs to ensure that they don’t leave a digital trail that has been logged and tracked. There were definitely a lot of ‘red pill/blue pill‘ moments (as per The Matrix) in the series – is innocence bliss (Elliot definitely seems to prefer his life when he is drugged out). It appears that sex, drugs and the internet is the new sex, drugs and rock’n’roll! I’m looking forward to series 2.
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.