The tech world is abuzz with excitement over Google Glass since its Explorer Edition was made available to developers and early consumers this year. Google Glass already rewarded us with incredible feats such as knee reconstruction surgery with remote medical expert participation.
Another new Google Glass project called Sension promises to dramatically improve the lives of people with Asperger syndrome and Autism by studying a person's face and identifying their emotions, which they can't currently do. The more amazing part is the goal of using Google Glass to reciprocate emotions people want to convey to enable those afflicted with Asperger's and mild autism to converse "normally", i.e. by reading and responding to social cues.
But it isn't just in medicine where Google Glass makes giant leaps into the future. As a leading Silicon Valley tech evangelist, Robert Scoble, has experienced first-hand, Google Glass will likely be worn by users during all their waking hours, even in uncomfortable situations. Mr. Scoble showed us how Google Glass can be very handy when you want to walk/navigate through an unknown city or tweet breaking news. There is also a great marketing potential for viewing physical purchase items and seeing what your friends or the general public think of them at the same time. It would certainly make shopping much easier. We can even expect to get first-person perspectives from our favorite athletes.
Does this mean we will all become walking computers with the help of Google Glass? Some would say we already are (with the smartphones we carry) and gadgets like Google Glass only improve our abilities.
Is this our future then?
Our social behavior may change per Google Glass cues in order to impress a date or a business partner. Even on the street, we will have an opportunity to communicate only with preselected individuals (whose beliefs reinforce our own), thus preventing an already limited opportunity for generating new ideas.
Let's examine the most pressing issue, the damage to our minds from being plugged in all the time. We still think that we can accomplish multiple things at once despite clear evidence that multitasking does not work.
We are already overwhelmed by information streaming from our smartphones. Google Glass will go a step further, uniting our virtual lives with our physical ones. There are a number of great NY Times articles that highlight how digital devices deprive our brains of much needed downtime, ruin our parenting skills, and hamper our children's concentration and ability to carry out challenging tasks. Google Glass will only exacerbate such issues.
Forget all the studies; think of your own past. When were you happiest? When you were multitasking, checking your emails, writing your tweets, looking at your friends' Facebook pictures? Or was it when you were 100% engaged in the moment, doing something you love - playing, reading, fishing, running, hanging out with friends?
This does not mean we should do away with Google Glass as it can significantly improve our future. Just remember to fight the temptation to wear Google Glass all the time.
Unless you have the intense focus and patience of someone exceptional like Robert Scoble, you will be better off using Google Glass only when appropriate and not 24/7.
Hasta la vista, baby.