Google Glasses project last month — the one that features crazy sophisticated glasses that display all sorts of information about your environment in everyday situations — led me to a startling realization: We appear to be headed towards a future that puts almost unfathomable technology within everyone’s reach at the blink of an eye. Literally.The huge buzz around Google’s augmented reality
If you watched the Google video about how these glasses might be used, you’ll see that they are designed to “enhance” your routine experiences throughout the day, augmenting your senses with everyone you talk to, everything you do, and everything you want to know.
Remember the movie Minority Report? The world portrayed in that film — with facial recognition billboards, multi-touch interfaces, and identification via retina scanners — seemed science fiction-like when the movie was released in 2002. But 10 years later, these technologies have all surfaced in some form and are only going to get more advanced and innovative… and… invasive?
Consider: GPS has enabled all sorts of social awareness that was never on the military’s mind when they designed the first navigation satellites. For example, you can find people around you who share the same interests with the Highlight app; you can know exactly where specific people are at all times with Glimpse; or even just find anything around you that you may be looking for (like with geocaching). Voice recognition is nearly a standard features on phones and devices and facial recognition has been implemented in Facebook photos.
What’s striking about the Google Glasses video is the ease with which users might have information flashing in front of their eyes at every moment of the day. Faces popping up, maps tracking your movements, as well as dings and reminders alerting you at every turn. It’s a constant stream of information being pushed your way. It almost makes you wonder how our society will function in the future.
If that’s the kind of distraction you want, you are probably excited about what Google Glasses and many other forthcoming technologies have to offer. While technology has certainly played a huge role in how we live our lives, I can’t help but think that there is also something to be said for the simplicity of asking for directions, reading about great restaurants, and seeking information when you want it, rather than having it pushed at you from all directions.
There will always be early adopters, and it’s clear that there are many Google Glasses-devotees who are eager to be on the cutting edge of technology. But as for me, I will pass. Hopefully, this technology will allow others, like myself, who still hold to simpler times, the option to use it as they wish.