Why Google Glass leaves me feeling half-empty

Isn't there something squeamish about wearing a pair of spectacles that distort reality?

Share
Related Topics

Last week a video was released that showed off what Google Glass, AKA the futuristic, glassless glasses that stream the internet into your eyes (well, sort of – they display information on the top right corner of your vision and are activated by voice commands) could do.

In the promo, the kinds of beautiful people who only exist in hi-spec tech ads do improbably groovy things which we got to watch from their perspective. Ballerinas whirling, hot-air balloonists soaring, parents of cute children twirling them round, city-breakers racing to catch their flight.

Each segment showed Google Glass doing its thing, whether showing flight information for the tardy travellers, sending photo messages to friends or letting people take instant videos of whatever they were seeing.

My husband watched, fascinated. My colleagues have been enthralled too. My reaction? To consider making the sign of the cross and backing away shrieking “witchcraft!”. In reality, I've tried to form an argument about why this particular tech innovation unsettles me so much. Partly it's to do with being constantly connected, which I know is hypocritical – I'm glued to my iPhone most of the time, checking email, Twitter, the weather, the news, cat pictures in an endless loop. I can quite happily (though rudely) sit playing a game on my phone while chatting to friends. Google argues that having this sort of information in your line of vision, there if you need it, is actually less distracting that having a hand-held device. But the idea of someone looking me in the eye and nodding, while checking out football scores without me knowing, gives me the creeps.

I don't want to set the luddite alarm off. I love how technology is woven into my life. I didn't write this column in pencil, nor did I post it. I typed it on a laptop and it winged its way over the internet. But like any addict, I still like to pretend I can quit anytime. Google Glass is a prism through which you would see everything. Flowers, sunsets, births, deaths – not everything has to be touched with technology. Wearing devices isn't in itself outlandish. I have watches that have more functions than my first mobile phone. However, I feel squeamish about wearing something that alters reality. It feels as though we're finally becoming part-machine. Or part-Terminator.

Can you be a cyborg and still have a soul? Do androids dream of electric sheep? Will we? I don't know. But it's going to take a lot more than high-production values and sat-nav streamed onto my retina to convince me to put away the silver bullets.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sales Director, Edgeware, Middlesex

£55 - £70K OTE £120k Plus Car: Charter Selection: Major multi-million pound la...

Citrix - 3rd Line Support

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Citrix Specialist required by leading IT...

Microsoft Specialist - 3rd/4th Line Support

Negotiable: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a Microsoft, VMware and Citrix...

Sales and Maketing Manager, St Albans, Hertfordshire

£55 - £70K OTE £130k Plus Car: Charter Selection: Major multi-million pound la...

Day In a Page

lowers, candles and other tributes in front of the Netherlands Embassy in memory of the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17  

To punish Putin for the MH17 disaster we must boycott Russia 2018

Jack Gilbert
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor