I keep seeing photos of attractive people wearing Google glasses. Apparently new technology is not for ugly people.
Google Glass, as it’s officially called, is a wearable computer, a lightweight pair of glasses that gives you a display on the go. A bit like how Robocop sees the world, perhaps. You can take videos, get directions, send messages, search the internet and more, all with voice activation. It’s Google in your face.
It would be pretty handy to have Google in your face. You would never need to be caught out in conversation again. I could have done with Google Glass earlier this week while talking to cricket enthusiasts.
“Yes, Brendon McCullum,” I would have said aloud, quietly calling up the relevant information in my Google vision. My onboard computer would have surreptitiously shown me that one of our cricket team, Brendon McCullum, had just scored New Zealand’s first ever triple ton.
“Isn’t it awesome how he got that triple ton,” I would have said, searching triple ton to learn it means 300 runs. Suddenly I’m an expert on New Zealand’s cricket history. “Yeah, the closest we’ve ever got to a triple ton was Crowe’s 299 in 1991.”
But to be honest, the whole idea of Google Glass unnerves me. I don’t particularly want to live in a world where people have the internet in their face all the time. It’s bad enough trying to have a conversation with someone who’s texting.
One day Google Glass will break out of its exclusive rich person phase and we’ll see someone wearing it in Devonport Road. That’ll be a weird moment. It’ll be like the first time we ever saw someone with one of those weird little bluetooth bugs in their ear.
The reality of Google Glass is actually a bit dorky. The most hilarious thing is that to activate it you have to say “Okay Glass” out loud. “Okay Glass, google New Zealand cricket.” I wonder if it understands our accent?
If you don’t want to sound like Inspector Gadget, you can use the Head Wake angle instead, and then tip your head up or down to scroll through the menu options.
So we now live in a world where computer programmers have invented a specific move of the head and called it the Head Wake angle. Yes, technology is dictating how we turn our heads.
Modern life dictates everything, even our posture. We walk permanently bent over our smart phones and we are probably creating a generation of neck problems for people who constantly peer down at tablets and iPads.
In the distant future our fingers and thumbs will either be splayed out from all that swiping and zooming, or else we will have graduated to Google Glass and everyone will have developed very specific head tics.
Think of the social problems. “Are you videoing me? You’re videoing me. You did the Start Record head angle.”
“No, I was checking the cricket score. Hey, are you shopping again? What are you buying this time?”
“Nothing, I was just stretching.”
I’ve occasionally entertained the notion that I should have a technology-free day once a week. No computer, no TV, no internet.
It would be the technological equivalent of standing in a field at night and seeing the stars again. The grand silence of being unplugged for a while.
I grew up out of town where the stars weren’t obscured by the glow of suburbia. I miss those stars. I think we lose something by living in the perpetual aura of the city.
Technology is incredible. It can make life so much more convenient, but sometimes it’s worth pausing to reflect on the trade offs. Tilt your head to the Yes angle if you agree.
First published in Bay of Plenty Times 21 February 2014. Reproduced with permission.