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We have collaboratively explained [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9}}''' xkcd comics]],
 
We have collaboratively explained [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9}}''' xkcd comics]],

Revision as of 00:41, 4 March 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained 6 xkcd comics, and only 2066 (34433%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

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Evaluating Tech Things
Also known as the Black Mirror-Mythbusters scale.
Title text: Also known as the Black Mirror-Mythbusters scale.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a DRONE FLYING INTO A TORNADO. Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.

Many things are possible today thanks to technology, and while often the "wow factor"—how cool it is that we can do that—kicks in right away, there can also be deep potential longer term consequences for humanity. Things like atomic fission, the Internet, CRISPR technology, are amazing things we have learned how to do, but they also have the potential, in some cases already realized, of massively affecting human life (e.g. nuclear annihilation, instant wide-scale communication, elective genetic engineering), both for the better and for the worse.

Here Cueball, upon hearing of a cool idea he hadn't thought of before, mentally measures it on a scale to decide if he can be excited about it, or should be worried about how it might affect humanity. After weighing it out, he decides it's just plain cool and it will not adversely affect humanity at all. In the comic, it appears this mental decision took awhile, judging by the multiple panels showing him thinking, ambivalently rubbing his chin, before he gives his response.

The title text refers to this mental weighing also being known as the Black MirrorMythbusters scale. Black Mirror and Mythbusters are both TV shows that explore science and technology. Black Mirror, on the one end of the scale, explores the unintended and often dire consequences of many of our more influential technologies—the horrible stuff that can happen—whereas Mythbusters, on the other end of the scale, explores the fun side of technology to see what kinds of cool things can or cannot be done.

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[Megan and Cueball talking]
Megan: Sooner or later, someone is going to fly a drone into a tornado and post the footage to YouTube.
[Zoom in on Cueball imagining a semicircular dial with a moving pointer currently fixed vertically in the mid value. The left-most value indicating his opinion to be "This raises big questions about technology and society" and the right-most being "Haha, cool!"]
[Panel with just Cueball and the imaginary dial above his head, the pointer having shifted a small amout to the right]
[Same panel with Cueball, his right hand pensively on his chin, the pointer having shifted an equally small amount to the left of the mid value]
[Panel with Cuball, Megan and the imaginary dial above, the pointer now all the way to the right]
Cueball: Haha, cool!



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