Have you heard about Google’s new project? They are coming out with Google Glasses (a video from a Google executive himself is posted on TED (click here to view)).
They’re logic. Why look down at your phone, when they can put the computer screen in your glasses, and an earpiece-equivalent “in” your ear.
The TED Video
When I first watched the TED video (available here), my first thoughts were words such as: wow, impressive, cool, good job, kudos, innovative, technology. I went and ate dinner and while I was eating and talking to family members, I thought, if I was wearing a pair of Google Glass, would I still know how his or her day was today? Would I have even bothered to ask? Or would I have gone on Facebook, seen their post about how crappy their day way, commented on it, and then that was the end of that. Would dinner instead be about the latest Google Glass accessory I bought instead of how I was out for a walk in my neighborhood and helped a neighbor place a couch into the back of his truck?
When computers first came out when I was young, I understood it as something that was to be used to help society and people. Not replace people. Instead of giving a friend a high-five when we see them at the gym, we ask them for their phone number, Twitter handle, Facebook username, or something else.
Technology is not bad. Just like people, a person isn’t bad. What technology is used for can be not good. Same with humans – a human isn’t bad but they may use themselves or their brains to do things that are not good.
If technology can be used for good, it has a role in human life. That’s it. It is a resource for humans. The rate we are going, humans are a resource for technology to grow and get smarter and more powerful.
The TED Video (part 2)
In the TED video (available here), Sergey Brin says a few things. “New way you want to connect with people in your life […] you isolate yourself socially by looking down at your phone. That’s why we put the screen above and out of sight.”
I think we need to distinguish between building our online networks and building relationships with others. When Mr. Brin says, “New way you want to connect with people in your life,” I don’t know if he entirely understands human behavior.
What ever happened to high-fives? Next time you see a friend (or even a colleague), give them a high five. I want to see my friends in-person. It’s great to see them online, but I’ve never had a conversation with a friend about something I had saw them post online a week ago.
“Hey, that was an awesome post you made last week. You know I have 1000 friends on Facebook so I definitely have the brain capacity to remember all 7 things (one for each day) that each of the 1,000 people posted on my Facebook feed in the past week (if you can remember 7,000 new items a week, tell me your secret, please).”
What I usually talk about, “Hey, that was an awesome 3 hour hike we did up that mountain last week.” There’s a difference between quality of experiences versus quantity. With Google Glass, will our brains hit the quantity ceiling? Will my brain finally say, nope, don’t need to know what John had for breakfast, and don’t care, so I’m turning myself off permanently if you are going to fill me (your brain) with garbage.
The part when I laughed out loud, and I apologize Sergey if you ever read this post, is when he talks about how phones can be socially isolating because you have to look down at them. Again, I don’t know if Google has a strong understanding of basic human behaviour. This is surprising given the innovative management trends they have started by understanding and learning the needs of their employees.
How can a person trust me that I’m paying attention to them if I’m wearing my Google Glass? Perhaps I’m really reading my Facebook newsfeed, or watching a video (the person I’m talking to won’t be able to hear it because of the special vibration technology). When I was learning the basics of communication skills, I was taught you have to let the person know you are there and present with them. You want the person you are speaking with to know they are your focus and you are pay attention only them (or the group, if in a group setting, etc). Good communication leads to trust. Trust leads to honest relationships. Honest and trusting relationships lead to strong and developed relationships. As humans are social animals, we need real relationships to fill this basic human need. Filling this need plays a role in our happiness (there’s a distinction between a bunch of friends and the health of one’s social life).
The Innovative Earpiece
In Google’s development of Google Glass, Google wanted users of Google Glass to have their ears free of any earpiece. They came up with some truly impressive and cool vibration technology (the glasses vibrate – it’s so minute really only the ear’s 3 bones can pick it up). This is really interesting. However, this is also where I really had to think. I was disappointed in Google for not being even more innovative.
I say we skip the vibrational technology and go straight to the next level. Embed an earpiece into babies. This will act similarly to today’s earpieces. Here’s the best part of this new technology. Surgically implant (well, the earpiece would be surgery, too, but technology giants don’t like that word because it scares consumers) a computer screen (by this time, it won’t really be a computer, but today’s vocab doesn’t yet know the term) into our eyeball. Don’t worry. How painful can having your eyeball cut open truly be? Oh, and the best and my most favorite part. Those four days you will have to wear an eye patch over your eye after the implant surgery are not cause for concern. Since the video screen is implanted directly into your eyeball, your eyes will be very sensitive to light so need to be covered. BUT. Within 3 hours of getting out of surgery, we can turn on the screen. You may not be able to see your friends in the hospital room, but you can stay up to date with all the fun they are having while you moan and groan in a hospital bed (thanks Facebook for the updates).
Going to the hospital can be scary. You won’t be able to post a Facebook update for about 4-5 hours (surgery plus recovery time). Will your friends get worried after not seeing your daily what-I-had-for-lunch update? Since you can’t remember your friend’s cell phone number (since the cell phone the human brain has actually shrunk – the area of the brain that used to hold this type of information is gone – yup, your brain is now smaller – news flash!), the nurse can’t call your friends/family to let them know you’re okay. You just hope the hospital can post a Facebook update or send a message on your behalf (don’t worry, all the nurses and doctors have Google Glasses so they can keep tabs on patients). The only bad news, the government was so busy testing their new Google Glass and flying cars (only politicians get them at this time because they are the most important people in society (ahead of firefighters, teachers, police officers, doctors, etc)), the government forgot to pay the salaries for the cleaning staff. You got three implants today! A video screen, an earpiece, and an infection!
Back to your friends worrying. In the old days it was easy. You just left a note on the fridge. Of course today we don’t have fridges. We have implanted fridges in our stomachs. Like duh who needs to eat me frend haha i onle actually no her cuz we’re facebook bestfriends posted like this article on her like facebook that says like this woman like lost like a bunch of like wait by like not eatin so like ya obviously like air is a food dont u listen 2 anything mr smart taughts us in classe (For those of you who prefer English to Text that last part is: Like duh. Who needs to eat? My friend (haha I only actually know her because we are Facebook friends) posted an article on her Facebook that says a woman lost a bunch of weight by not eating. Obviously air is a food. Don’t you listen to anything Mr. Smart teaches us in class?)
You know what… I think I’ll stick with high-fives for now.
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Adam Goodwin is changing the world by growing the local #TakeTheActivePledge to a global movement. He is currently Marketing Coordinator for Okanagan Elite Athlete. Along with his start-up one3ag, he is changing the lives of individual children, teen, youth, adults, and older adults with the #TakeTheActivePledge movement. Join him today to help save a generation.