Contrary to reports from America, nobody has yet abused or mugged me after two weeks sporting my Google Glass. There has been a certain level of notoriety: i’d estimate i’ve spoken to a hundred strangers who have asked about and tried them on. These range from a bus conductor, waitress and stranger in the street, to my mum. Who isn’t a stranger. But was a stranger to Glass.
It’s rather like having a puppy.
Everyone notices it. Everyone wants to touch it. Most people say they’d like one. Everyone wonders it it’s eaten the curtains yet. Nobody kicks it because it’s cute.
Emergent technology goes through stages: ‘excitement‘, ‘doubt‘, ‘fear‘, ‘failure‘.
We start, excited by the potential: often technology precedes the problem it solves. We strive to find the purpose of it, to find the applications. SMS messaging was an accidental success. The first person to bolt a camera onto a phone was laughed at. Where technology leads, we try to identify the benefits.
Then reality bites as the puppy grows older: those initial applications, do they really work, are they really better than what we had before? “How’s it different from your smartphone” asked Mark yesterday? Uncertainty: we like it, although it’s quite cute, we’re no longer sure it’s a world changer.
Fuelled by the media, fear then sets in: killer dog in Morocco, man mugged with Glass in New York, imminent apocalypse as CORPORATIONS steal our souls. Where technology leads us, ethics and social acceptance follow behind. Sometimes stigma emerges.
Finally, something fails: if the technology is not yet mature enough, it may be the device. If the technology succeeds, it’s predecessor fails, made redundant by evolution. Successful technology gives a payback. At some point, i need to put my Google Glass on in the morning and feel that it’s worth the effort.
Once it’s all grown up and no longer a puppy, once nobody stops me to talk about it anymore, once it’s had it’s honeymoon, i have to ask if it’s worth it. Did it come with benefits built in, or have i managed to find it’s purpose? I’m exploring curation, storytelling, sharing, collaboration and co-creation. I’m producing a Glass Diary over on Google+, but does it really make me more effective, better connected? Is it worth it? Or was it just cute when it was a puppy?