Project Glass: One day… (by Google)
Like, I imagine, the majority of the Internets, I got giddy when I first saw this today. But I also got nervous. I pose a serious question: do we really want this?
It’s a question I’m sure has come in Google’s planning — and I’m crossing my fingers that it’s one that will be asked more, as discussion of “wants” seems to have motivated the release of the video — and I think it’s critical to pause. I would love to have my Google Maps directions display in my line of sight so I don’t have to figure out which way I’m actually walking while looking at my phone in my hand, but that’s a pretty rare usage, at least for me. I think what needs more attention is the stuff that we always use on our smartphones that stresses us out— the stuff we don’t actually like. It’s one thing, for instance, to be “always on” in your pocket. It seems another to be “always on” when you’re hands-free.
At times, my smartphone allows me to do things that leave me blissfully happy, just like all the people in Google’s videos. But though the idea of being able to experience the video-chat shown at the end is remarkable, my mind still goes to possible, admittedly not definite negatives.
One question I’d like to know, as a starter: what about the psychological problems we’ve seen in people being “tied” to their phones? The “phantom limb” exists in that capacity. What kind of phantom will we have when we’re wearing a similarly capable device? We can take glasses off sure, but like this New York Times piece notes, doing so rather logically, “Project Glass” could easily become “Project Contact Lens.”
Looking forward to a wider public discussion on wearable computing.