Prepare to wonder if people are recording, and then to not care.
When I saw them on the street, I wondered, “do they know that they look ridiculous?” And then I realized – I was about 500 yards from the Moscone Center during Google I/O, perhaps the world’s most likely spot to encounter someone with the new Google Glass – and it hit me that this is now normal.
No, it’s not normal for the average person to sport a Google Glass appliance (not yet) and that person would definitely feel uncomfortable saying “Hey Glass, Take a Picture of Me Doing This,” but how different is this – really – than carrying a computer around with you in your pocket all of the time. Many of us do exactly that, and yet the spectre of someone wearing a camera on their face seems to cross the “Uncanny Valley” and make us feel uncomfortable.
It is completely normal to want to record your existence, to capture the now, and to save precious memories for years and decades to come. My initial reaction is one of a digital immigrant who remembers what life was like before handheld computers, “What would you use that for?” The answer is probably, “everything.”
Today’s teens and 20-somethings don’t necessarily share the myopic view that computers are single purpose or that they are destined to be on a Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, or Mobile. They are interested in a world where computing is rapidly becoming wearable and invisible. They are interested in a world where new possibilities are invented almost every day. And they are interested in stretching the boundaries of being connected so that their whole life is accessible. Gordon Bell of lifestreaming fame would be proud.
So what is the new normal? The New Normal is to expect data to be collected all around you. The New Normal is to use the images and video and audio that we didn’t remember capturing into new collages and insights and thoughts that shape the fabric of our lives as surely as the advent of instant color snapshots changed my childhood. We have no idea what lies ahead. We only know that it looks a little bit like Google Glass, and that it will talk back to us when we are lonely. Perhaps one day it will even make conversation. What do you think?
Originally published on Medium
Great Monday read down here in sunny San Francisco Greg and like your reference to kids not having a “myopic view” of how we use devices yet I would tend to disagree with “Prepare to wonder if people are recording, and then to not care.”
I would certainly care if someone was recording my family as we stroll down Fillmore or as I head out on a run to the beach and might even snatch their Google Glass off of their face if catching them in the act too:). Young or old alike would certainly agree this is an invasion of our privacy and something that even Google will have an uphill battle fighting wherever they try and market this device.
As always, your writing is thought provoking:)
Thanks for your comments. I absolutely agree that I would not like to have my family surreptitiously recorded. And I think that’s already happening.
The shift with this technology is that the recording is moving from solely commercial and municipal monitoring into everyday recording.
It would have been unusual and downright near impossible to take a private phone call at a restaurant table in 1993. It is rude now, but not unthinkable, to have a Skype conversation at a restaurant table. So that potential monitoring and recording is going on today. I think it just feels weird or invasive because it is moving to mobile.
So I sympathize with your thoughts, and think that our attitudes may be different in 5 or 10 years. (The iPhone is only 6 years old.)