EDITORIAL: I’ll admit it, I’m a little afraid of Google Glass

I have never thought of myself as one of “those guys.” You know, the old greybeards who are too afraid of new technology to embrace it. I was the first person to embrace connected personal devices, even though it meant (back in 2003) that I needed a long wire attached to a GPS receiver, a bluetooth-enabled featurephone and a big clunky Jornada 540. I was right there doing digital music before everyone else, and I’d say I have pretty reasonable social media credentials, too. Sure, I’m not too hip on Windows 8 but I’m not alone there.

But I’ll tell you, Google Glass has me spooked.

Not because I didn’t see it coming. Back in 2007 (when paper books were all the rage) I read Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End and everyone in that book wore contact lenses that gave an always-on overlay with information and augmented reality data.

Not because I think glasses won’t work. I wear glasses now. I was a little worried that Google Glass wouldn’t work with eyeglass wearers, but it seems like that won’t be a problem.

There’s just something about it that seems like a recipe for disaster. Sure, some people will tell you that looking away from the road ahead to check something on your smartphone is a recipe for disaster. But I am worried that Google Glass will be far more intrusive. What if it’s so much fun that you stop paying attention to reality altogether?

Sure, that’s a concern that everyone has had anytime there is a new distraction. I bet when radios first got put into cars there were people saying that drivers would be so wrapped up in listening to The Jack Benny Program that they would drive off cliffs. And we all remember the stories of people who followed their GPS’s into lakes… in fact with Apple Maps being so bad the problem keeps coming back.

I just can’t put my finger on it. Something gives me both the heebies and the jeebies about Google Glass. Is it that I’m worried that Google will actually have the power to define my reality for me? What if Google turns into pure unadulterated evil? Maybe it’s the idea that people will try to play Grand Theft Auto on the freeways. Whatever, I just can’t put my finger on it.

What’s more, this isn’t like me at all. I should be loving this technology. Sure, it’s kind of funny that the two competing technologies of the future are glasses and watches, both things that were left for dead at the end of the last century. But it… just… vexes me.