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Do We Want What Google Glass is Selling?

Authored by: Steven Blum — Mar 26, 2013
 With Google Glasses, you can read text messages from friends while pretending to listen to your girlfriend. Is that a good thing?/ © Google

The first time I saw someone wearing a pair of Google Glasses, I thought the device made them look like a slightly fashionable cyborg. I've since warmed to their aesthetic oddness.  As Sergey Brinn explains in this impromptu TED presentation recorded a few days ago, the whole idea behind Glass is that they allow the wearer to seamlessly interact with both their environment and a never-ending flood of useful data. No more awkwardly fumbling with your smartphones while attempting to make eye contact with a friend; with Glass, you can maintain eye contact AND look at cat photos just above your friend's head. 

But does that really mean we'll be better at connecting with the people around us, as Brinn claims, or will we just become better at hiding our distractions? I wonder what Brinn's girlfriend has to say about all the times he was checking his emails while pretending to listen to her. I wonder how strange it feels for a stranger if you begin surrupticiously recording him without his knowledge. 

We are already living in a culture of total distraction; the only difference is how obvious our distractions are to the people around us. Watching Brinn's impromptu TED presentation made me realize that the next wave of wearable technology –like Smartwatches and Google Glass – are all about bringing data closer and closer to our eyeballs. Glasses are an extreme example, but even smartwatches are closer to our faces than a smartphone in our pocket. We just can't look at the world anymore unless there's a steady stream of relevent data attaching itself to it. We love our data so much that we want it literally laid on top of our eyeballs!

The question is, do we really trust Brinn when he says that this technology will bring us togther? And do we really trust the future of our social interactions to a few extremely intelligent tinkerers in Silicon Valley? This is Brinn's idea of connection, but do we share it? In essence, where does Google's vision end and ours begin?  

I know it's the future, but I'm not sure I trust it just yet. What do you think?

Steven Blum has written more than 2,000 blog posts as a founding member of AndroidPIT's English editorial team. A graduate of the University of Washington, Steven Blum also studied Journalism at George Washington University in Washington D.C. for two years. Since then, his writing has appeared in The Stranger, The Seattle P-I, Blackbook Magazine and Venture Villlage. He loves the HTC One and hopes the company behind it still exists in a few years.

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  • I would invest in a pair IF they would assist me on the job & were more comfortable looking (remove those nose pads & create a polymer plastic frames - like a good pair of RayBan opticals)

  • "And do we really trust the future of our social interactions to a few extremely intelligent tinkerers in Silicon Valley?"
    Do you not use Facebook, Twitter, or Google+? That ship sailed long ago. And as far as John's concern about "big brother", implemented correctly this is the best way to fight "big brother" thousands of citizens with cameras, capturing images of corruption and injustice where ever it happens!

  • If one of my friends tries to talk to me while reading stuff on their google glass, i may just smash my fist into their nose. How annoying that will be!!!

  • Jonathan Mar 26, 2013 Link to comment

    I am into high tech things and believe in fully taking advantage of social media, etc. in socially responsible ways. but I must stress that being social involves living people, like my friends and associates, with whom I want to have very personal contact. This device has no place here. But it certainly can be usefull in a working environment where people want/need to operate under stressful conditions, quickly gathering, analyzing and sharing info (like in the TV series 24).

  • weirdness!

  • John Mar 26, 2013 Link to comment

    These things are too "Big Brother" for my liking , not to mention the distraction factor when you wear them.I wonder if they'll cause headaches and perception problems?

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