Nick Bilton wrote an eloquent story in The New York Times about the birth, development, and death of Google Glass (Bilton, 2014). Years before the idea of Google Glass, science fiction writers envisioned cyborgs whose ‘eyes’ would show them information of something they were looking at and this analysis would allow them to decide if the person or thing was ‘friend or foe.’ One of the future robots in the Terminator series is an example.
Pilots are familiar with flying helmets that give them a heads-up-display or HUD. It is used to show where an enemy plane or missile might be so it can be shot down. By ‘reading’ the transponder, the HUD will flash a different color depending on the object’s friend or foe designation. A few years ago, one of the car manufacturers came out with similar technology for their top line luxury cars. The display was shown on the front windshield and gave some important information to the driver like speed, direction, a virtual map, etc., but alas, it did not catch on and the ability to have it on one of the company’s cars disappeared.
Google Glass (GG) suffered from not being ready to bring out of the lab, there were privacy concerns, and the impetus was not there. According to the Times article, the idea for GG suffered from not being a ‘naturally occurring’ idea. The fellas over at Google were looking around for something they could bring out, a lot like Steve Jobs did with much more success. A list of items was produced and a few things caught the eyes of the powers that be. One of them was what would become GG. The problem with this kind of discovery is it is an artificial ‘eureka’ project. Usually a product like Google Glass would be found by some inventor/tinkerer who had an idea and made one for himself like the Sixth-Sense guy. The person would have been tenacious, driven, focused on nothing else but perfecting his ‘baby’ of an invention. By doing this artificially, they gave it to someone who was not a dedicated father/mother of the invention and let it out before its time.
There will be something like it or better in the future. It may be more like the stuff of fiction or similar to the old GG technology, but it probably will not have the bugs the original had. We must, however, ask ourselves if the intrusion into our lives by such devices is what we want. Most of us still get the willies over the latest celebrity sex-tape and I, for one, would not wish to have the vision of people I know intrude into their private moments.
Bilton, N. (2014, February 4). Why Google Glass Broke. Retrieved from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/05/style/why-google-glass-broke.html?_r=0