Friday, March 21, 2014

Wearable Computers

It used to be so easy to interact with other human beings.  All it took was the ability to string together a combination of vocal sounds and hand gestures that would be understandable to another person.  That person would watch and listen, then respond with their own combination of sounds and gestures.  This process could repeat until one or both parties was ready to discontinue the interaction.  We called this conversation.

Sometimes, this process even yielded good ideas that helped humans beyond those involved in the original conversation.  And sometimes not.

"Hey, what's that thing on the ground?"

"I don't know.  It looks like a giant booger wearing a motorcycle helmet on its back."

"How do you know what part of a booger is its back?"

"I don't know.  Hey - do you think it would be good to eat?"

"Why don't you try it and find out."

"No.  You try it."

"No, you."

"I'll give you a dollar if you try it."


But even if people sometimes share bad ideas, conversation is still useful and necessary for human success.  While some technology claims to help us communicate, a lot of other technology hinders our communication - especially when we begin wearing said technology.  Once this happens, we can expect human communication to degenerate into something like this:

"Hey, how are you doing?"

"I'm doing great - say, before we go any farther, I have to ask you something.  I'd like to record our conversation as part of my lasting personal experience - do you mind?"

"'Lasting personal experience?'  Um... I'm not really into having my conversations recorded."

"Oh, okay, just a minute, let me shut off my glasses.  Ok glasses - turn off."

"What about your shirt?"

"Good point, just a sec, I have to remember the command."

"I have the same shirt - say 'Ok shirt - stop recording.'"

"Right - Ok shirt - stop recording."

"Those are nice shoes, are they new?"

"Yeah, they're great - oh, that reminds me, I have to shut them off too."


"Ok shoes - um...  Ok shoes... shut down.  So, what did you want to talk about?"

"I think your shoes are beeping."

"Yeah, they do that when they're not recording."

"They beep when they're NOT recording?"

"Yeah, I think they were really designed to record all the time, so it's kind of like a warning."

"That's a little strange."

"Yeah, sorry about all this."

"Oh, no problem, I was just watching a movie while I waited for you to get finished."

"Really?  Which movie?"

"What? ...Oh yeah, Star Wars 14."

"Right, that's a good one.  Well, I have to get going.  It was nice talking to you."

"Ok...GAAAH!  ...Sorry, scary scene.  Bye!"

"Right... bye."

On the bright side, people will be so distracted that they will be highly unlikely to notice snails, let alone suggest eating them.  Ah, the glorious future of human interaction.