On Saturday Night Live, the incomparably goofy Fred Armisen appeared on Weekend Update and delivered a clairvoyant, and thoroughly damning critique of Google’s new wearable, interactive computer-glasses technology, Google Glass:
In this comedic bit, Fred Armisen portrays a technology blogger type who wants to show off the supposedly easy to use and non-invasive new gadget. Inevitably, the device is not perfectly responsive to the neck motions and verbal commands, and Armisen’s “Randal Meeks” ends up waving his head around in vain, and repeating the word ‘peacock’ fifteen times. T
his silly bit of satire will undoubtedly excite the righteous anger of tech’s devils advocates; luddites everywhere will raise their chins and say “told you so” to geeks who love toys, like me.
The Google Glass mockery is all too easy, just as easy Google’s garnering of hype for creating the technology. After all, the intrigue, and potential malfunctioning of eye-mounted computers is a fairly well documented in science fiction, and has probably exceeded a certain number of mentions total. In the real world, voice-activated technology like Apple’s SIRI has been successful for years now. Glass is not yet released to the general public, but as far as the zeitgeist is concerned, Google Glass is more like a logical next step than Brazil-esque future dystopia. This is why people are already mocking it.
Indeed, the good intentions of Glass’ creators will be muddled; the innovators at Google thought too many people were looking down at their phones. Instead, imply the detractors, the ills of current technology will only change will the advent of Glass, not improve. People will trade their text and driving accidents for whiplash from turning the damn thing on, and will lose their computer screen tan for a weird, asymmetrical spectacle tan.
New technology will always be invasive. With all do respect, our Grandparents are huge hypocrites. When they were kids, if they were American and were not poor, they probably spent hours sitting in front of the family radio, and they couldn’t text their buddies, but if they could have, they would have. I say bring on the future’s vicissitudes, Google Glass! Sure, the technology will have its horror stories and its problems when it comes out next year, but I think it’s worth it. Sure it can distract from the real world instead of seamlessly enhancing it, but sometimes that’s exactly the point.