Yesterday the technological overlords at Google dropped this video about "Project Glass" a.k.a. "The Google Glasses." Google being Google, it became the most viral thing on the web for the day. And also the most discussed. But a deeper question lies: Is the world ready for POV Google goggles yet?
For starters, Google's augmented reality glasses fascinate me with their futuristic zest and awe. "Hey, look! A pair of GLASSES that can tell me what bars have the cheapest happy hour specials RIGHT NOW AS I WALK BY THEM! And they will call my interesting friends to meet me there! NOW I DON'T HAVE TO LOOK AT MY REALLY EXPENSIVE PHONE THAT ALREADY DOES THIS STUFF ANYMORE!"
At the same time, that very prospect makes me sh*t my pants in terror. It's almost like Google laughing with a middle finger to the world, saying "Hey look, technological singularity ain't that far away! SOMEDAY we'll be able to recognize and mine data from your every quirk and muscle movement and emotion and reflexive gesture. And we'll use that data to process and synthesize you're ENTIRE day to day existence with a soulless, robotic algorithm! Yep, all we need is a network connection and a string of stupid ones and zeros. AND YOU WON'T EVEN HAVE TO PRESS A BUTTON."
I adore so many Google products, but couldn't help to think on a re-watch of this video that I was watching a Skynet corporate training propaganda video. Just to rub the dirt in my face even more, Google filmed the f*cking video right down to my favorite f*cking coffee place. My addiction to Mud Truck coffee is now polluted with a new suspicion that the friendly tattooed baristas are really just another a part of the Matrix too.
In it's mission statement for Project Glass, the Google[x] team states the goal is "to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment." This is where I bang my fists on the table and say, "But I already am in the moment, Google!" I don't need a pair of glasses to do that for me. I already have a smart phone, text messages, a computer, e-mail addresses, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Facetime, a post man, blah blah blah to facilitate as tools in the exploring and sharing of my world to whomever I very well please." There are so many widely-available tools for this exact purpose already that, in the social media age, there's waaaaaay more emphasis on sharing ones world than actually, er, exploring it. In it's own twisted way, "#MyThoughtsDuringSex" as a top world-wide Twitter trending topic is living proof of this.
Of course, technology -- by virtue of definition -- needs to evolve. Objectively, Google's just tackling a seamless, natural progression away from the concept of the telephone as mankind's go-to communication device. And I'm sure the Google Glasses will be an amazing, must-have consumer electronic someday and pretentiously look down upon people who don't have a pair just like we laugh at those who can't get e-mail or Facebook on a Nokia from 2006. And hey, maybe that augmented reality intel will serve some sort of ultimate utilitarian purpose for remembering the name of that epic karaoke anthem you sang at the bar right with a bunch of drunk Japanese businessmen right before you got kicked out with your just-as-drunk friends.
But that's exactly what I hate: That it remembers. That it will know everything at all times. That in the Google Glasses world, nothing is truly random or genuine or needs to be recalled, since it all lives in the omniscient brain of your network. My beef with a life constantly aided by the Google Glasses is that while "exploring and sharing your world and putting you back in the moment" you're killing a random, uniquely human tick for discovery and figuring things out on your own. But hey, maybe that's because I'm comfortable enough in my own skin to ask a living, breathing sales clerk for directions to the music section of The Strand Bookstore. Let's hope we're not all that socially awkward yet.