Saturday, April 20, 2013

The world through the Glass

Google Glass is a phenomenal attempt to create a device that blurs the interface between a human and a machine. I believe this is a first step towards the complete integration, and a scary one too. The Glass as advertised by Google is an important step in the evolution of the human species, where the humans start accepting augmentation with machines as a natural progression. However, it brings out an important point on how Google as a company wants to invade in the private and personal space of each user. Google is primarily an Advertisement based company. It survives and thrives on people, you and me, using its powerful search engine, and other plethora of tools to play with information. This includes searching, recording, authoring, viewing and sharing. An important part of this engagement between the human and Google is the need for a consumption device. This engagement allows Google to profile the user, provide targeted advertisements and information. But a key problem with the engagement is that a user needs to be in interaction with the interface. A device fills the gap except places where the user does not intent to involve it. This may include the free time that we all have including interacting with our families, pursuing our hobbies, sharing love and experience for the first time etc. All this represent the pure human to human interaction. A machine in the form of a mobile phone, laptop, tablet is seen as an intrusion in these type of interactions, until Google Glass arrived.
The Glass opens up tremendous opportunity for Google to perceive the behaviour of each user in far detail than possible now.  This means, an unprecedented access to more of our human - to - human time. When the interface becomes invisible as in the Glass, there is very little a user can do to decide on the appropriateness of the content that gets communicated and shared. The interface is becoming a part of our real self. I will not be surprised if when using the Glass and playing a game of tennis, my Glass realises that I am poor in the sport, and superimpose training videos on my retina followed with advertisements of training institutes.
This is scary thought, but one whose time has come. I am all excited and scared at the same time :)

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  1. I guess you can always turn it off ;)

    I wonder though if the glass would be allowed during examinations!

    1. @nilay , It would incredible.

  2. Turning off is always a decision. However, a wearable computer is used as an extension of one's physical abilities. As users get comfortable with the Glass, it is unlikely that they will ever want to get rid of it. The powerful ability to command pictures and video shoots at will and at the right time could also dictate this behaviour.

    I believe examinations, especially judging one's ability to answer questions will be uplifted from mere verbatim copy of content from web. It will be more analytical, and would require students to put their perspectives for the content already available. Take for example - Open Book Test.