Dark Net Review: “Rewire” the Mind

Dark Net, "Rewire"

As usual, this week’s episode of Dark Net tackled some very modern technological issues in a big way. Let’s dive in and see what was explored in “Rewire.”

In typical Dark Net style, “Rewire” details a few different stories that all fit, generally, under a broader umbrella. As you can probably tell from the episode’s title, “Rewire” concerns the concept of the internet essentially “re-wiring” the brain to make it different.

The first story in “Rewire” is that of a young man who is addicted to internet pornography. In today’s age, this is not at all a rare condition, and it’s just as important to treat as any other addiction that people suffer. This young man takes part in an online recovery community that works to help sufferers get over their addiction in a safe way with others, and over a million users have started to use these online communities. One of the groups, NoFap, attempts to disconnect from the digital world in order to “reboot” their brain and take away the physical and emotional effects of their porn addiction. Just like with any addiction, hearing the stories of some of those in the group is incredibly emotional, and I really wish that the episode would have developed this aspect of the episode even further.

While the first story is about “rebooting” the brain and getting back to the basics, the other story in “Rewire” deals with the enhancement of the brain through cognitive enhancers. These drugs, while not approved by the FDA as mental enhancers, are easily accessible through the internet. These drugs aren’t just found in places like Silicon Valley, though, as we see a man from Alabama who runs his business from his kitchen table. It’s crazy seeing how accessible all of this is, but it’s equally crazy to see the good that can come from some of these drugs if the FDA were more lax with their procedure. “Rewire” doesn’t go into nearly as much depth with this concept as I would have liked to see, though, and I think the episode suffered from this lack of depth.

“Rewire” also takes a look at the way that technology and tech-related jobs can be perfect for people who are on the autism spectrum, and the exploration into this makes a lot of sense once you actually think about it. The issue that I had with it, though, is that it didn’t play well off of the other stories in the episode. It was definitely relevant to the general concept of Dark Net as a whole, but its inclusion in “Rewire” almost felt like an afterthought only added because the episode was only half as long as needed.

It’s easy for me to say that “Rewire” is the weakest episode of Dark Net so far, but I say that with an asterisk. The reason that it’s so much weaker is that its presentation of ideas is very uneven and inconsistent. The stories on porn addiction and cognitive enhancement would have made a perfect episode with more exploration of each, and the information about those on the autism spectrum working in technology would also have made a perfect episode on its own. The combination of the ideas, though, doesn’t succeed, and you’re left wondering why more thought wasn’t put into the presentation. As I mentioned, though, all of the stories were still interesting. I just don’t think they were presented to the audience in a good way at all.

What did you think of “Rewire?” What are some topics that you hope Dark Net explores in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!

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