Google Glass

Last week, Google gave the longest demo yet of one of its pilot projects—the headset display they're calling Google Glass. The demo included skydiving while being connected to the Internet. So Airplane Wi-Fi is now officially boring.

Honestly, the product (so far) seems underwhelming to me: the demo centered mostly around the ability of the glasses to take hands-free photos and video. We didn't see any real demonstration of augmented reality with data layers (e.g.  floating 5-star rating as you drive by Steak'nShake) or surreptitious communication (Google Chat in church).

But that will come. And the glasses will get less bulky and even begin to feel normal.

So here's the thing to ask ourselves.  Isabelle Olsson, the lead designer, said:

We created Glass so that you can interact with the virtual world without distracting you from the real world. ... Glass as a whole is designed to be close to your senses, but not blocking them... we don't want technology to get in the way.

This is interesting. Olsson subtly underlines two worldview statements here.  First, the the real world and the virtual world live separately and in tension.  And secondly, that technology—at least visible technology—makes us less human in some way.

The key interesting question for me as I think about technology and theology is often:  "Is this technology making us more or less human?"  Commonly I hear that technology is making us less human. People speak of it "invading our lives" or worry about how it is changing us, like an alien race is invading our formerly innocent, terrestrial lives.  I tend to see things on the other side of the spectrum: that our own inventions magnify and accent our own characteristics (flawed though they may be!).

So I don't agree with Olsson's starting point that pits the young mom (and her baby, relationships, and desires) vs her device.  But even if I did. Does shrinking the device change the outcome?

I rarely ask for feedback, but I am a little bit curious. Do you think Google Glass is humanizing or de-humanizing?