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Some pros and cons of Glass

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Mat Honan wore Google Glass for much of 2013; in an article for Wired, he talks about what it's like and how people react to him. On the one hand, people who he interacts with tend to hate it and find it weird and intrusive. On the other hand, as he notes: “The future is on its way, and it is going to be on your face.”

As y'all know, I'm a big fan of Glass; I see it as providing easy and hands-free access to things that everyone's smartphones already do. (I've seen many arguments to the contrary, and I disagree with all the ones I've seen.) I intend to get one sometime in the next year or two. (And to remove it when talking with anyone who's uncomfortable with it.) And I'm pretty certain that whether or not this particular device catches on, similar kinds of devices will be near-ubiquitous ten years from now.

But I continue to find it fascinating that people are so put off by it, that people get angry about it, that the word “asshole” gets thrown around as though the very act of wearing a wearable computing device is in itself an attack on society. So I liked that this piece explores, from a personal angle, both the criticisms and the positive sides.

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Huh, I guess I feel strongly enough that I am actually moved to go through the process of logging in over here and commenting!

I think my main objection is not that it makes people look like the Borg, which creeps me out (I also think this about bluetooth headsets) but rather the one he raises towards the end -- that this seems like the highest-tech way yet of not actually looking at the stuff in front of you. I saw a video shot from the perspective of a guy wearing glass at a baseball game; it showed him the batter's average, the ball/strike count, stuff like that. I thought -- what a distraction from *watching the game*. On tv, where it's basically 2-dimensional, it's fine to have that stuff overlaid; it doesn't pull the eye unless you want it to. In 3-D, I can't see how you wouldn't be more inclined to pay attention to the info floating near your eyes, rather than the real world which is farther away from you.

I think that instinct -- that the person wearing the glass must be paying attention to it rather than you -- is the source of the anger/sense of attack on civil society. But perhaps I don't understand enough about how the thing works.

(Maybe I should note that I don't own a smartphone, for a variety of reasons including cost and inertia, but also a feeling that, spiritually speaking, probably the last thing I need is another way to easily connect to the internet. If I trusted myself only to use it for specific purposes -- looking up directions, or a recipe -- I would be much more inclined to get one. But I don't.)

As for the inevitability, meh.


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