I am disappointed by the news of Google Glass‘ demise. While trying Glass only briefly, the future it promised intrigued me. It’s the future of super humans.
I’ve read many comments and opinions on why it didn’t work out. Most commentators blame Glass for being too socially problematic and offering too little value for everyday use. And then it has hit me. What some people see as unacceptable is the future I hoped for.
I had hoped for automatic facial recognition of everyone I meet. With Glass offering their bio, information on common connections and interests without even needing to ask. Possibly looking up our last conversation. And suggesting interesting topics for discussion. I have a bad memory for faces and even worse for the stories behind the faces. Glass could fix that.
I had hoped for an ability to file my conversations after they happen, into my personal archive. Imagine seeing something amazing or participating in an important event and only minutes later realizing it’s worth preserving. “Glass save the last 10 minutes of what I’ve just seen”.
Could such functions create unexpected social challenges? Absolutely. Would they deeply change they way we behave? Probably. For sure there would be many problematic uses – which every technology has. But eventually we’d create new social norms and behavior patterns – similar to how we weaved mobile phones and into the fabric of our daily life.
You can also look at these technologies as a perfect peer-to-peer panopticon. But total surveillance is already here. Everything mentioned above is routinely done today by a few privileged organizations. Big corporations mine our data on one side and government surveillance agencies record our every word and follow our every step. Glass would just restore some balance by giving such capabilities to ordinary people.
You could look at these technologies as giving super-human powers to everyone. We have already become super humans many times. Ubiquitous connectedness and search engines give us access to the most of human knowledge at any given time from almost any given point of this blue sphere. To someone from a century ago this would qualify us as super humans.
So, what super powers will humans a century hence posses?