A new form of technology that is about to hit the market is both awesome and terrifying.
Perhaps you saw the Disney Pixar film “Wall-E” in which bloated humans hovered around a spaceship in chairs with holographic screens projecting in front of them. That will soon be real.
Google has accepted applicants to test a new device called Glass. What looks like minimalistic sunglasses works much like a smart phone, taking voice commands and initiating video chats, recording live footage, translating words and sending reminders. Instead of pulling up the traditional Google search bar and typing your question, you can verbally consult Glass.
Decide for yourself if you like the idea of this. You can visit http://www.google.com/glass/start/ and watch a demo video.
The promo video shows the eye-wear performing different tasks like sending messages and making video-chat calls prompted by saying the magic words, “OK, Glass.”
Out in the blogosphere, people are responding in many different ways. Some say, “No thanks, I like my human life and privacy.” Others say this rings an Orwellian bell, and Big Brother will just have one more way to watch you, and see everything as you see it.
In today’s world, we believe advertisement determines what we put into our lives. We know commercials tell us that neon colors are in fashion this season, and video games are fun and candy that looks like berries is delicious. We may think smart phones control our lives and when we see technology change it blows our minds and we can’t comprehend what the future will look like. But those who can see it — those who design the changes — are truly in control.
The developers working with Google Glass are changing our lives forever, and we are too blinded by beta waves and cute puppy pictures to see where it is headed. The truth is that augmented reality is just around the corner. Take the Xbox Kinect console and combine it with Google Glass, take it one step further and shrink the technology down and add a bionic aspect and you have a puppeteer, a Wizard of Oz hiding behind the hologram, deciding your reality for you. In 30 years, we may each wear a comfortable, unobtrusive implant or contact lens that is meant to enhance our lives. But will it?
It takes me back to an episode of “Futurama,” in which the character “Mom” gets people to file into long lines and wait for their “eye-phone” which is painfully installed into their eye socket. The customers then go through life with a holographic screen flashing before them, allowing them to record videos and share them, which leads to a direct invasion of privacy.
However, some seem to think this technology could benefit people in many ways. The deaf could see scrolling text to help them communicate, and people with memory loss could receive notification of events, or have family members identified.
Whatever the benefit or downfall, this takes us straight into a new era of what researchers view as cyborg anthropology, the melding of human life and adaptation with technology. That being said, my generation can go on without me if it means we all have to start looking through the Glass. I still write letters by hand and mail them, and rely on a sharp memory to recall the small flowers I saw while hiking to look up in a book that I select from a wooden shelf. And when the Glass falls off your face down into a ravine or river, I will still know how to read a map to get us home. Maybe everyone should learn sign language, and more trivia, so we won’t rely on Google for everything we can’t recall.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.