Technology versus serendipity

Google announces Project Glass:

Like Sherry Turkle, Bob Mondello, and Pico Iyer, Linda Holmes is pushing back against our increasingly “all tech, all virtual, all the time” society:

Convenience is one thing, but I’m not looking for technology to reduce risk to the point where nothing can ever happen to me except the things I’ve already thought of.

Inefficiency exists for a reason. I don’t want to know before I leave exactly when to arrive somewhere so that I don’t have to stand in line, because when I stand in line, I might talk to people. I might take three minutes and think about nothing at all. I might actually look around. […]

There is a weird sense in which this technology treats everything unintended as if it is unwelcome: It is fundamentally opposed to the idea of figuring anything out for yourself. It advances the notion that we are entitled to a noncorporeal, completely nonpersonal presence we talk to like a person (“Where’s the music section?”) so we don’t have to expend the mental energy to suffer the indignity and inconvenience of potentially taking a wrong turn in a bookstore. We’re not talking here about turn-by-turn navigation that keeps you from heading for Boston and winding up in Charlotte. We’re talking about stamping out every trace of inefficiency in pursuit of a life where every right turn that would most directly have been a left becomes a problem to be solved. […]

I’m not sure I intend to have a life that’s quite as frictionless as Project Glass envisions. I don’t mind getting lost, and I don’t mind messing up, and I don’t mind walking into the business section instead of the music section, even if it does turn out to be a lot of how-to books by guys with big teeth. I’m not looking for the end of unpredictability.


Read the rest here.

Update: YouTuber rebelliouspixels — who’s probably right — thinks Google’s goggles will end up more like this.


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