No Whimsy, Sugar (taste_is_sweet) wrote,
No Whimsy, Sugar

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Hundred Million Bottles

Google, as I was probably the last to know, is introducing a new fangle called 'Google Glass', which isn't glass of any kind so much as a headband that includes a little box over your right eye and can record whatever you're doing at any given moment. It also can send (but not receive) messages, use Google Maps (of course) and stream live video chats with your amazed buddies while you're doing all that other stuff. Here's a picture:

Happiness is as close as your eyeballs.

The generous techies at Google say they invented Google Glass because they want to free the world from the tyranny of looking down at their phones. With this device humans will once again be able to walk around with their heads held high, interacting with other humans and seeing the world around them. When they're not talking to their buddies online via video chat, sending voice messages, texting via voice, checking their email or playing the latest version of The Simms. (Texting, email, and games aren't available yet, but you know it'll happen.)

Aside from the inevitable privacy issues (do I really want my kind of creepy coworker recording our awkward conversation in the elevator?) and the car accidents, I have to say I'm not going to be the first one to buy this thing when it's available with free shipping at

Why not? Well maybe it's just me, but when I see the pictures for these things, all I can think about are the hover chairs from Wall-e.

Luckily only the robot has to watch where he's going.

I remember back in the day (that day being the 80s) when the big thing was a Sony Walkman, which was a portable radio and cassette player you wore on your belt and listened to via the dorkiest earphones in existence at the time.

You kids these days just think you're cool. And get off my lawn.

They were eventually replaced by the Diskman for CDs, and eventually the iEverything. But even when the height of portable technology pulled your pants down on one side, there were already people who wore them everywhere, all the time. I even had a friend who told me he did it expressly so he wouldn't have to talk to anyone. And nowadays it's even easier.

Now, I'm far from the first person to ever lament how new technology leads to less face-to-face interaction. William Langland had a few things to say about it around 1362:

Wretched is the Hall...each day in the week /There the lord and lady liketh not to sit. / Now have the rich a rule to eat by themselves /In a privy parlour...for poor men's sake, /Or in a chamber with a chimney, and leave /the chief hall that was made for meals,/ for men to eat in.

He probably would have found the idea of Google Glass horrifying, and not just because it'd be worn by some guy in silver spandex stepping out of a time machine.

Langland was upset because the invention of fireplaces meant that the one percenters of the middle ages could go to their private rooms and ignore their employees. But these days, if you can afford the tech, it's possible to ignore everyone.

In this brave new century, you can choose not to interact with anyone in real life in favor of the one inside your phone, tablet, eBook reader or laptop. You can communicate with someone half way around the globe as easily as someone two feet in front of you--as long as they're not wearing earbuds. And soon Google will give us a newer and even better way to ignore the world, while convincing ourselves that we're still a part of it because we're not looking down. But the truth is we'll just be talking to ourselves, and looking at a spot a few inches in front of our faces.
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