Google Glass: Is This a Step Too Far? (If So, then Why Does It Look So Amazing?)

At what point does technology so impact the human person that it fundamentally changes what it means to be a person? Has that point already come and gone? And when we look at what we can do, does can mean ought? Is there a point at which technology so infiltrates personhood that it actually begins to weaken the species? Has technology become fully woven into the story of how humans evolve? Is that good? Is that what we want?

I say this all, btw, via wireless connection on my computer while listening to The Lumineers on my iPhone and have already checked my email once since I started writing this post.

Enter Google Glass… (see video below).

How the human race will survive the acquisition of technology without destroying ourselves or the planet remains to be seen. But I’m not sure I’ve ever watched a product promo that simultaneously spooked me and thrilled me like this one did. It spooked me because it seems like a very real possibility that ten years now almost everyone I know will be wearing Google Glass or something similar – another twenty-five and what, it will be embedded in your cornea? A century later and we’ve encoded your genetics to produce the technology metabolically? The entire human experience will not be really lived, it will be lived merely to be posted and compared.

What bothers me the most is that it looks amazing – I want mine.
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  • Chad

    Check out this parody of the Google Glass promo…

  • I’ve been predicting a “google chip” implant for years… This is yet another step in that direction. Brave New World, indeed! 🙂

  • John Evans

    Man has striven to exceed the limits of his body since the first fire-hardened stick and chip-sharpened stone. Each new innovation has been met with cries that the end was nigh. We’re still here. Different, surely, but here.

    I am not the same person I was when I was six, but that child is still in me. Humankind now is not the people it was 1000 years ago, but we still carry those lessons and learning. I, and humankind, will change in the future as well.

  • Apropos of hi-tech developments, here’s another interesting story:

    New Bionic Hand Prosthesis Called First To Give Amputees Sense Of Touch (VIDEO)

  • Darryl Pickett

    This doesn’t appeal to me at all! I’m already allergic to the non-stop presence of advertising in my online life. I can’t stand the thought that I would never be able to look away from it! (Because there is no chance the Google Glass experience won’t involve constant advertising!) This video also seems to indicate that the wearer need never fully experience meatspace again! There will always be reassuring presence of data right there in your field of vision. You need never devote your full attention to anyone or anything ever again!

    (Mind you, I already hate “Picture In Picture” on my TV. An aesthetic blot on the proscenium of imagination. Even the little Network ID bug in the corner irritates me. And I can’t watch cable news, with its many windows of hopeless data crawls.)

    There are some applications I get and might appreciate. (Easy viewfinder for recording video) But overall, this is an innovation that just doesn’t speak to my desires and aspirations. When everyone is wearing these, I’ll be spending a lot more time in quiet shrines on mountaintops. And maybe that is a good thing. End of old man rant.

  • Were the following things a step too far?

    – the wheel (We’ll be able to move things easily! Isn’t carrying heavy stuff all day long part of being human?)
    – agriculture (We’ll be able to stay in one place! But being nomadic is so central to being human!)
    – writing (We’ll be able to *record our speech*! What about privacy??)
    – the printing press (We’ll be able to distribute information to masses of people! Won’t they all get confused? Isn’t it so human to have wisemen like kings and popes?)
    – modern medicine (People will be able to live *much longer*! Isn’t frequently confonting death and suffering a part of the human experience?)
    – cell phones (Argh, anybody can talk to whomever they want! Isn’t living in the moment part of being human?)

    The Amish decided to stop technology somewhere in the 19th century. Some people in rural parts of the world (Papua New Guinea, Brazilian forests) don’t have writing. Are any of them more or less living the human experience?

    Storytelling — recording life and describing it to others (or, in your language, “posting and comparing”) — seems to be pretty central to the human experience. Will it perhaps be enhanced by this technology?

    • schmoe

      “Were any of them a step too far”

      at some point technology becomes to the individual what a big meteor was to the dinosaurs. The annihilation of conscience — is that a step too far?

      “Storytelling — recording life and describing it to others (or, in your language, “posting and comparing”) — seems to be pretty central to the human experience. Will it perhaps be enhanced by this technology? ”

      Addressed 50 years ago in “Understanding Media” by Marshall McLuhan.

      • How is google glass going to lead to the annihilation of conscience? Not a rhetorical question — it would be genuinely interesting to understand this.

  • schmoe

    as it says on the masthead of my favorite blog, “p.s. Google IS the evil empire.”