Interesting debate about Google’s new product, which will enable us to upload a personal Ego Log (ha!) to Big Brother in exchange for glassfuls of digital Soma (to mix my dystopias).
The worry is that, whereas it’s easy to tell when a smartphone is in use, and hence to evolve a set of behavioural etiquette, no such constraints apply to the Glass. True, the pilot version is voice activated, but they’ll soon get round that – I bet 2.0 will let you start filming or whatever by rolling your eyes and blinking in a particular way (customisable of course). Thus you’ll be constantly on the watch, in any social situation, for odd facial tics that might suggest that from now on whatever you do or say will end up on YouTube, and maybe at GCHQ (I exaggerate slightly), and deciding whether to retaliate by going Glass-to-Glass, start acting out of character, or walk away. In any case, it looks like a conversation killer at the least – and I haven’t even mentioned dancing.
I haven’t seen anything about power supply or battery life yet, but in theory there’s a simple solution: a red light on the front. This works for many domestic appliances*, and would put the device back into the same place as the phone and the camera. It would also spoil the fun, though. In fact it could end up being divisive, with a sub-culture (Glass Class?) of addicts huddled in modern-day equivalents of opium dens, out-glassing each other while the rest of us get on with real life. Who knows.
One tip though: don’t use it in central Glasgow on a Friday night. Unless you want to get glassed for real.
*Although on my iron, perversely, the red light goes out when it’s hot.