The Internet of Faces

Dear Google, about Glass…

glass how it looks

One of us is wrong. Don’t be, you know.

I’ve read several articles written by people who have tried on Google Glass. Each article contains more or less the same two statements in common, with slight variations: One, putting the Internet on your face makes you feel like a Glasshole, and, two, we will all be Glassholes soon. In other words, I may be a Glasshole, but you will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

I’ve never seen anyone wearing Glass in person. But, it is evident from the testimony of Glass wearers that many people react viscerally to the sight of someone bearing the unsleeping eye of the Panopticon on their right temple, about the same way an Elf in The Lord of the Rings reacts to the sight of an Orc with the Eye of Sauron on his helmet. This could be a marketing problem for Google. The articles say that too.

The black t-shirt clad* panjandrums and janissaries of Google and their competitors in wearable panoptic devices seem to fancy themselves the Mustapha Monds of their Brave New World. But… you can’t play Electro-magnetic Golf according to the rules of Centrifugal Bumble-puppy.

Right now, there is a class aspect to wearing Glass, because one of the things wearing Glass says clearly is I, a Glasshole, am more important, more hip, more privileged, than you who are not a Glasshole. It says that even if the wearer doesn’t wish to say that. Some Glass users, disturbed by the envy of the unGlassed, do not wear them in certain situations, fearing their own personal Night of Broken Glass.

Right now, the rest of us cyborgs hold our machine faces in our hands, and carry them around in our pockets when we’re not using them. This allows a certain amount of denial in re our device dependency. Faces with Glass reduce the amount of denial we are allowed. This is, I think, what bothers people, even more than the explicit display of Glassholier-than-thou Glassholishness. The Tourettic ejaculation of Glasshole! is perhaps an unconscious attempt to recover denial.

Putting on Glass is not quite as brutal as having a laser grafted to your skull like a Borg, but it kind of puts a face on the so-called Internet of Things, the Everyware world of Crunchy Tech’s nearest and dearest future, when even your refrigerator and toilet will spy on you, surveilling and analyzing your food intake and bowel movements. Will anticipate them. Will warm the seat of the bathroom throne; warn you away from that third beer, that midnight slice of cold pizza. This is what Glass, coupled with Google Now, is designed to do: Surveil, analyze, anticipate, and guide every whim and impulse of the user.

The Face of Glass is a mirror. In it we sometimes see the face Google wants us to see; at other times we may see behind a face adorned with a stylishly designed device the shadow of a Borg face.

deathlok comic cover

*or are they wearing plaids now?

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One response to “The Internet of Faces

  1. One way to look at the Borg allegory I borrow from the Star Trek Next Gen mythos for this squib is that not that the Borg are aliens coming from outside the “Federation;” the Borg is what the Federation looks like from the outside, and the Enterprise and its crew is what the Borg look like to themselves.

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