Google Glass Brings Us One Step Closer to the Dystopia of Wall•E

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As you probably know, Google Glass was recently released to a select set of developers for testing. For those of you who don’t, however Google Glass is a pair of glasses that connects to the internet, has a build in webcam, and lets you talk to people and get directions.

This means a few things. First of all, you will soon be able to always have the internet readily available to you without even having to look away from what you’re doing. Secondly, the internet will become such an integral part of our daily lives that we will no longer remember what it was like without it.

Sound familiar? I don’t know if you’ve watched Wall-E, but here’s a basic synopsis: It’s way in the future, and earth was destroyed by the humans. The humans then made a giant space ship and lived on it. It was on this high tech spacecraft that everyone eventually got extremely fat by spending their lives in hover chairs. Every passenger also had a screen projected in front of them, and they were always so focused on what was on their screen that they completely neglected the outside world around them.

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In fact, when two people bumped into each other and were forced to interact in real life, it was a new experience for them both.

Here’s just a simple overview of what google glass looks like to a wearer. Notice any similarities?

With Google Glass you can also send and receive messages, get directions, find information from Google Now, and even record video and capture your view through a camera – all available in your eye. Soon people will be walking around completely oblivious to the existence of a real world, and augmented reality will become the only reality.

Compare this scene from Wall•E with this demo of Google Glass:

As you can tell, we aren’t quite to the point of complete social isolation. However, the widespread availability of a product like this will bring mankind one giant step closer to the Wall•e-an dystopia that we fear.

Our Children Will Have No Idea About Computers

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For the past decade, we have undergone a staggering revolution. Suddenly, computers are becoming faster, more powerful, smaller, and most importantly, easier to use.

If you listen to any speech from the CEO of a hi-tech company, there is almost always a reference to usability.

Steve Jobs, Macworld Expo 2007: “There’s no power brick necessary. And they’ll hook up an HDMI cable to their wide-screen TV, and they’ll use wireless networking to get their content. So it’s really, really easy to use.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Surface Event: “We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when all aspects of the experience hardware and software are considered in working together.”

Hugo Barra, Google IO 2012: “Android makes your life easier. Simple tasks should never require complex procedures.”

The list goes on and on. Today’s focus is on making it easier to use your devices so they become an integral part of your life. (Now I’m talking like Steve Ballmer after watching all of those keynotes.)

This evolution both gives and takes.

As devices become easier to use, the knowledge needed to use these devices is less. And when we don’t need to know something, we usually don’t.

Basically what I’m saying is that as devices become seamless, anyone will be able to use them, and very few will bother trying to know what’s actually going on inside. To prove my point, I give you an iPad – an extremely intuitive, easy to use tablet – and Iggy the cat – a feline with no technical training whatsoever.

If an illiterate kitty is able to use our devices, it is likely that our children will know as much about the device’s insides as Iggy.

This has another consequence. My generation (the millennials) is extremely involved and educated in computers. As the demand for computer engineers increases, there are more and more millennials coming out of college ready to work. The next generation, however, will be far less knowledgable about computers. This means that as the demand for computer engineers increases over time, the supply of young coders will decline. This will mean that either they will become far more valuable, technology will come to a standstill, or we will decline back into the dark ages.

Okay, that might be going a bit far.

But my general point still stands: As devices are easier to use, our children will know less about them.