“The more we elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.” – J. B. Priestley
[Update 1/16/15: Google announced yesterday they were suspending the product, for now]
I don’t care about Google Glass. When I say this I mean I’m neutral about the impact it will have on me or culture at large. Google Glass does not solve a single problem that bothers me. My life will not improve because I can more easily take photos or do web searches, as those things are almost too easy to do today given how often I see people doing them.
Every important attribute of my life will remain unaffected whether I have a Google Glass or not. I will not love my family more or less. I won’t have more or less friends. My dreams won’t be more or less likely to come true. And the amount of time I spend doing things I love, or being with people I care about will remain the same.
The consumer fallacy the tech-sector surrounds us with is that the progress we need comes in upgrades, upgrades made by corporations designed for profit. While I don’t regret the clean water that comes to my house or the WiFi I’m using to publish this missive, technological progress has diminishing returns for many dimensions of modern life. If you tripled the water pressure to my home or quadrupled the WiFi speed, as impressive as those leaps sound, it would have zero impact on my ability to drink water, or write and read posts. But technological progress is easier to measure than any other kind (spiritual, personal, social, metaphysical) so we measure it, and obsess about it, and allow it to distract us from more worthy improvements to modern life.
I enjoy doing one thing at a time. I become more efficient and proficient the more time I can spend doing one thing, not less (See Attention And Sex). I have little interest in machines and devices that compress more simultaneous activities and experiences into a single moment. My ability to enjoy life fades the more distracted I am. And it fades the more time I spend with people who are distracted. I like putting my phone in my pocket and having to choose to take it out, keeping myself aware of the personal and social interruptions it creates. I use my phone often, but I’m just as happy not to use it at all if I’m doing something important, or spending time with important people, two activities I want as much of as possible before I die.
I don’t care about Google Glass in the same way I don’t care about a pencil with stronger graphite, or a car with more powerful air conditioning. It’s a kind of progress that has almost no meaning for my quality of my life.