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What good are Google glasses? OR How tech companies can choose not to be evil.


Why invent Google glasses?
Here's Sergey Brin trying to answer that question.


Doesn't his argument seem a little unconvincing - a weak reason to deploy the best of the brains on the planet and 3 years worth of efforts. 
 The primary pivot of his argument is the glass' ability to improve social posture (?). He talks about how when interacting with your cell phone, you look down, away from the rest of the world. How when nervous, one fiddles with cell phone to escape the real world.
So how is Glass a solution? It is an even more 'evolved' tool to keep the outside world 'out'!

Ok, so Glass frees your hands. for what? for better documentation of our narcissism? These series of innovations (social media, smart phones, glass) are answering the most base yearnings of our narcissistic behavior.

When you look down, atleast there's that bit of honesty - 'yes, I am looking away from you. Sorry for my awkward inability to be social.' With Glass, how honest are you with your interactions in the real world, if you are constantly mindful of the online world at the corner of your eye. (Social media is the magical mirror for the narcissists. Google glass makes the narcissism even more intimate.) Obsessive Facebook users know the urge to check notifications. Imagine that with Glass.


Watch 'Black Mirror's this episode for another perspective of how this tech might evolve. (Must see the whole series. work of genius.)


More importantly, I feel that technology giants like Google and Apple don't really prioritise well. It seems that the world has stepped back and has given the mantle of technological progress to these few companies. There is this unfortunate tendency where excellence in one aspect is taken to mean a general quality of excellence - cricketers as politicians, businessmen as policymakers... wrong wrong assumption.

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Human ingenuity can certainly do much better than what Google or Apple have done. Well, to begin with, we need to get our priorities right.
The starting point should not be 'what can technology do?'. Because, its with questions like these that Google Glass gets created and one has to see Sergey Brin trying to force fit a weak reason for its creation after the product idea had already been thought of.
Perhaps, the starting point should be 'what do we really need right now and how can technology help us get it?'

We don't need more ways to shut off people, we need more ways to be confident in our social interactions.
We need to be able to protect what is sacred & personal to us. (Hence always opt-in as default, not opt-out option as default.)
We need control over what we say, do, hear, see.
We need a better understanding of what we consume and how it affects the world.
We need technology that doesn't eliminate another human being from interaction/ work/ jobs.
We need technology that  doesn't increase the gulf between the haves and have-nots.


We need a non-Luddite, but a realist, humanist manifesto for technology companies to follow. To not be evil means eternal vigilance of the effect of one's own actions.
Companies are eager to 'lead the change', 'make a dent in the universe', but with what effect? with what cost? 
Apples and Oranges of the world need to think not only of the superior interface designs, but also about how the ones who cannot afford these elitist fruits would react to this new exclusion? How is it making obsession about trivial material issues fashionable and what does it mean to our ecology, social interactions, our economy?
If you do not want to be evil, be a little more circumspect.

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Withdrawal symptoms

Ctrl-tab
Ctrl-tab...
Scroll Scroll Scoll..
Alt-tab
Alt-tab...
Catch yourself slipping away.

Deep  breath. 

Close the browser. silence the mobile and turn it away.

Open an offline-real-paper diary. Stop your thighs from lolling impatiently. Stay still. 

Pick up a pen awkwardly. ahh, the fingers are stiff. It will take a  while for them to get used to holding a pen. Quick finger exercise - open the palm, stretch finger outwards, close into a fist, dig the fingers in. Repeat.
Ok now.. about to pick up the pen again, but eyes dart towards the screen. Tempted to check email.

Shut up. The last consequential email came two months ago. Nothing of consequence is online.

Pick up the pen. Don't fetishize the object now. Get on with it. Put it on paper, write a word and start it already. If I get to a sentence, perhaps I will get into a flow and won't have to look up from the paper at all. 

One sentence later.

Ahh. That was good. I am feeling good about myself. The sentence makes sense. …

Value

Things turn into cash
once they are stripped of their lives -
their breath,
their freedom,
their dignity
or their joy.

A fish on the table
and a cubicle dweller..
both are united in their solvency,
their ability to be stripped of their lives and turned into money.

This solvency is our own making
Hold up your hands against the sun and your favourite gods
Do they dissolve? 
Hold up your heart and see if it beats for them
Hold your joys in your hands and fling them towards the system,
does it stick?

For a better world
first we need to walk away from this world.