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Bluetooth technology has been on the market for years and people using it still look like chumps. But the quest to make our technology stick to our face continues with the news that Google plans to release a pair of Android-powered glasses by the end of the year. And yet... reasonable people may have some minor misgivings.
Allow this innocuous New York Times caption to chill your blood:
The Google glasses will use augmented reality software to return real-time information about locations and people.
Great, blur the lines of reality some more, why don't you? Maybe someday soon you'll see a girl walking towards you on the street and be able to instantly match her face to her online-dating profile, skim through a 2008 blog post about her new dog, and decide she wasn't worth it anyway all within the time it takes her to walk by and wonder why the dude in the spectacles is glaring at her and furrowing his brow. Then, like a hipster T-1000, you'll glance up at the sign of a Thai-fusion joint and your internet-enabled specs will blink into action. Target acquired. Now scanning Yelp for negative reviews.
The people familiar with the Google glasses said they would be Android-based, and will include a small screen that will sit a few inches from someone’s eye. They will also have a 3G or 4G data connection and a number of sensors including motion and GPS.
Motion sensing, GPS-enabled eyewear! Are you unsettled yet? While I relish the thought of people jerking their heads from side to side in order to launch a volley of Angry Birds, the creepy side of all this looms large. As some commentators quickly pointed out, it could lead to data-mining of unprecedented proportions, with companies like Google gathering information not only about what you do online, but about what you do in real life, perhaps even about what you see.
On the other hand, this is great news for so many people. It's great news for profiling at airports, great news for the guy who wants to take creepy photos of girls on the subway with just a single leer, and great news for anyone who has to travel through time to protect the younger version of the person who'll eventually lead the human resistance against Skynet. Once they roll out the contact lens versions, the deception will be complete; you'll be able to get instant eye-surface info-streams about the people around you and no one will be the wiser. You'll be a lean, mean, scannin' machine. It all sounds peachy until you consider the implications. Make no mistake: we've seen this movie, and it doesn't end well.