the baggy trousered misanthropist

missives issued from the lair

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Wait, is he watching porn? Filming porn? Both? Image via tumblr.

Given that the human race has time and again proven itself laughably inept at coping with life-improving gadgets, I think that we should be a little more cautious when approaching the facial fun park that is Google Glass.

Google Glasses 2

Alternatively, you can use it to petrify small children. Image via funmashup.

In case you haven’t heard, it’s essentially a head mounted smartphone with the ability to supply a constant flow of real time information to the user’s field of vision, theoretically without disturbing their normal interaction with the world. It’s still at development stage, but the porn industry is already preparing for an ‘exciting’ new genre of POV movies, while “Glass Explorer” dispatches so far imply that the cutting edge technology will mostly be used to work out how many coffee shops are located within a one mile radius of their location.

At the other end of the evolutionary spectrum, the technological innovations of yesteryear are still being mishandled with spectacular results. There’s the Belgian woman who tapped directions to the local train station into her Sat-Nav and ended up in Croatia. The text message that was so entertaining, it’s recipient ended up face down in a mall fountain. Not to mention the thousands of people who’ve lost their jobs/spouses/self-respect by failing to differentiate between the ‘Reply’ and ‘Reply All’ buttons on their email client.

We’ve all been there.

The disconnect between what the product is intended to be used for and what it actually gets used for is only going to get wider once Google Glass falls into the hands of, well, anyone with a vague understanding of technology, really. It will begin harmlessly enough, with hilarious tales of people unintentionally overriding the privacy settings and broadcasting their innermost feelings, sex lives and toilet habits to their nearest and dearest, colleagues and hopefully, their bosses.

Then the videos of unpleasant incidents will begin to surface. The only thing currently preventing us from filming car accidents, disasters, people dying or any of the other hideous things that happen around the world on a daily basis, is our own inability to get the damn phone out of our pocket, find the camera app and point it in the general direction of the thing that just happened. With Google Glass, a simple voice command gets it filming. No longer will 24-hour rolling news channels have to rely on pixellated CCTV footage of killers roaming around a school. If they’re really lucky, they might get a live feed from inside as the incident is actually unfolding. That, no matter how disturbing it seems now, will become the norm.

And they say violent movies can have a negative effect on the human psyche.

Our curiosity, the trait that has driven us forward as a species and generated the desire and ability to develop all of these wonderful, life enhancing things, is also our Achilles heel. We can’t help but look at things that petrify us, thrill us, challenge us, even horrify us, as we move further away from experiencing those feelings in our comfortable, safe, predictable lives.

We can’t stop moving forward. It’s in our DNA. But does anyone actually know where we’re heading?

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