I’m not quite sure whether to be terrified or excited by Farhad Manjoo’s recent interaction with what I immediately associate with the beginning of the human race resembling the lard population from Wall-E:
To turn on Glass, you tap the frame of your specs, or you nod your head up. When you do so, you see a big, digital clock just off to the side of your central field of vision, and a prompt to say “OK Glass” when you’re ready to ask it something. Even this main screen is useful: I don’t wear a wristwatch—I’ve never found them comfortable—and, when I’m not at my PC, I usually check the time on my phone. Glass offers me a quicker, less socially awkward way to access a clock.
I know what you’re thinking: A normal person would just wear a wristwatch. Yes, but even if you do wear a watch, there’s a good chance you look at your phone for dozens of other tiny bits of information during the day—texts, email, directions, photos, and especially Google searches.
Starner calls these “microinteractions”—moments when you consult your phone or computer for ephemeral, important information that you need immediately. Glass is built for these moments. Once you say “OK glass,” you’re presented with a menu of possible commands, including performing a Google search, asking for directions, and taking a picture. You can also access Google Now—the company’s predictive personal assistant—by swiping your finger along the frame. This shows you contextual information that you’d usually find on your phone—the weather, sports scores, directions to your hotel.
It’s bad enough that I have a total disdain for anyone who looks at their phone during dinner or a film, I don’t want to imagine a future where the entire human race – or those that can afford it – are walking around with computers on their faces. I’m in my twenties and I shudder at the idea.
I don’t want one. But I’m pretty sure I said the same thing about the iPad, which I’m using to write this.