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Claire Black: Looking through Google’s Glass darkly – The Scotsman

 

 

 

 

 

‘CAN you even see me?” I am, it has to be said, spectacularly short-sighted, but when I was asked this question I was actually wearing my specs.

“Of course I can,” was my indignant retort, squinting just a tiny bit as I said it – it’s been a while since I had my eyes tested. It turns out that my partner with her 20/20 lasered eyes could see how filthy my glasses were even from a distance of several feet. I’m not just talking fingerprints, I think there was some coffee splashback, possibly a bit of croissant. I’m not proud. I always thought I’d be one of those people with a special glasses cloth and a wee canister of spray so that, even on the move, I could keep my lenses sparklingly clean and smear-free. Alas, it turns out I’m more of a give it a rub on your simmet and if that doesn’t work, breathe heavily upon them before re-rubbing on a different portion of aforementioned simmet.

I confess to this ocular slovenliness only to admit that I was probably never really the target demographic for Google’s Glass headset. I mean, someone who routinely wakes up to find she’s slept on hers was never likely to shell out a grand on Glass. A pair of Glass? How do you even say it? I mean, come on, if the name doesn’t even work then are we to be surprised by news that Google is to stop selling their “smart glasses” (with the stoopid name) just months after launching them in the UK? Only about as surprised as we are that Segways aren’t exactly clogging our streets and that the liquid ejaculated from a SodaStream tastes absolutely nothing like the fizzy pop you buy in cans.

Sometimes technology just doesn’t work. It isn’t progress, it doesn’t improve our lives. It just costs a lot and makes us look like “Glassholes”. This delightful play on words was possibly one of the nails in Glass’s coffin. Another was that most people don’t really want to be around someone who is recording their every word and facial expression. That’s why Glass was banned in bars, cars, cinemas, casinos, hospitals and banks. Glass smashed, and not in a good way.

Once upon a time I was an early adopter. I had an electronic diary long before anyone else I knew. I had a mobile phone long before anyone else I knew. And a tiny notebook computer with the screen the size of a bus ticket. They were all rubbish. I can say that now because I’m older and I have less disposable income and I’m a bit less of an eejit. These days, if I’m going to shell out on technology I want to know what it will do for me. And if there is no clear, quantifiable life improvement then I’m not interested. No, having a cup that tells you what is inside it on a digital screen – the Vessyl, if you please – is not an improvement, it’s a nonsense.

I’m hoping the demise of Glass (Google insists it’s not that, but I don’t believe them) signals that we’re starting to question what all this technology is about. Not just because it’s making us into a bunch of socially inept insomniacs who seem to think it’s OK for the Oxford Junior Dictionary to remove words such as acorn to make way for gems such as MP3. But also because so often it makes us look so ridiculous.

via Claire Black: Looking through Google’s Glass darkly – The Scotsman.


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