Ever since I first heard about Google Glass, I’ve been chewing on what it is that disturbs me so about this brave, new technology. There’s something that’s not right about it in my mind, but it has nothing to do with my feelings about the company producing it.
It’s not like I’m unfamiliar with the features and benefits involved. Anyone who’s read William Gibson’s Mona Lisa Overdrive or Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash can recognize the modus operandi: Plug in, Turn on and Tune out (apologies, Prof. Leary).
I’m not a Luddite. If anything, I tend toward the opposite affliction: early adoption. But interestingly to me, I have absolutely no desire to become a Glasshole.
Google Glass is out for general purchase now (as of last week), and I guess that’s the catalyst for this post. Why? Because “Be Here Now” is in danger of becoming “Be Here Never.”
Apparently LSD is no match for HTTP.
This is also why recreational drugs have never held any appeal to me. Sure, I like a little legally obtained sumpin sumpin at the end of a long day, but a perpetual mask, permanent fog, or constant ‘layer’ between thee and reality is not something I crave. I just would much rather ‘Be Here Now.’
You don’t have to get all mystical or Rastafari to get there either (although here’s the master Alan Watts getting all dubby wid it):
Whether it’s the always online implants of Snow Crash or the ‘hey look at me, I’m a creeper recording everything you say to Google’s servers’ dude who is just…so…disturbing, this is one technological development I’ll just have to pass on. I guess that’s the thing that bothers me so about Google Glass and its next-gen compadres in development: trading mindfulness for mindlessness.
I hope this means that come Kurzweil’s ‘singularity’ I won’t be singularly alone. I have a feeling I won’t be, or even missing those who’ve raptured digitally. Hey—maybe this is just a version of Douglas Adams’s ‘B-Ark’ (which might turn out ok ’cause who uses public telephones anymore.)
– D.P. Knudten