I want to be connected!

in Geek Inside

Molly Millions, Neuromancer

I am a big fan of William Gibson: I like his books*, and the Cyberpunk World he created, where humans can be “upgraded” and can get better through technology.

I have always been attracted by new technologies, and ways to improve our every-day life. As a fan of science-fiction, and with a Biology background, I guess it’s normal for me to consider new technologies when thinking about the evolution of humans.

But until a few months ago, this was only science-fiction. Yes, I’d be one of the first to volunteer to get an implant behind my ear, or “implanted” glasses connected to Internet and to my brain. But the closest thing from this was Augmented reality. And I must say I wasn’t really convinced. I tried a few apps when AR started appearing in our smartphones, but nothing blew my mind like Google Glass and Myo.

I guess you’ve all seen the Google Glass Intro video by now, but here it is again:

What was your first reaction? I’ll be honest, I didn’t believe it. I thought that this was yet another prototype video: it looks cool, but it won’t be available any time soon. This was probably recorded with GoPros.

I was wrong. If you’re lucky and live in the US, you can actually apply to be one of the first to get one pair!
So it does work. And Joshua Topolsky proved it by trying the glasses for a day, last week:

The video is not fake, the glasses work, they look good: I want them. On 1 condition though: it has to understand my French accent.

The video is not fake, the glasses work, they look good: I want them. On 1 condition though: it has to understand my French accent. And speaking from experience, Google isn’t good at that yet (or I’m not good at speaking with a proper accent, up to you).
But that’s where the main problem is, isn’t it? As long as we will have to say things out loud, it won’t be a huge success. Do you use Siri to dictate SMS while riding the subway? Don’t you think that saying “Ok Glass, record a video” will break all spontaneity if you want to record your friends during a Karaoke party?

That’s where William Gibson was right; these devices should be connected directly to our brains, and pull data as we think about it. We’re not there yet, but some companies are thinking about it… Need an example? Meet MYO.

Unleash your inner Jedi

The device is not connected to your brain, but will react to every movement of your arm. It’s affordable, and can be extended through an API. You can use it to interact with your computer, or with other connected devices. Who knows, in a little while you might be able to interact with use Google Glass and Myo together!

I haven’t tried any other connected devices like Myo or Google Glass, but I was impressed by two product demos at LeWeb in December: Nest and Lockitron. While both products still have obvious flaws (Lockitron won’t work on my standard european locks, for example), I’d like to have more products like these around me, with me, making my life easier every day.

If you haven’t read it yet, go read Neuromancer. I’m always looking for friends willing to get a neural implant when I’ll get mine! :)

  1. I guess I am a modern Luddite. My friend and I were talking about these recently, and I wasn’t too impressed. Do I really need to know what the time is, all the time? And from watching the video, that and taking shaky videos is what they’ll be good for. Maybe I’m jaded, but I have a friend who instagrams everything he eats. Now imagine of world of that going on forever. The Society of the Spectacle of the (Banal) Society.

    It does bring an interesting twist to Gibson’s ideas however. What will happen to the world when all our memories are of recording what should’ve been an experience?

    I’m sure the porn will look great though…

    • Sure, I agree. You don’t need to be looking at the time, all the time. The demo shows you how to use Glass, but doesn’t show you anything about wearing Glass without actually doing anything with it. After all, it’s not because you have a smartphone in your pocket that you need to pull it out to check the time every 2 minutes.

      You can get a better look of the different Glass features in this video. You’ll see that Glass doesn’t need to be always on:

      Of course, some people will abuse it, use it too much, over-share. But as you said, it’s already the case with smartphones today. It’s going to be awkward, though: just imagine your friend talking to himself, saying “Ok Glass, take a picture” every 5 minutes… That’s the biggest issue with Glass imo. I would never dare or like to “show off” or broadcast to everyone around me that yes, I’m using Glass, I’m googling something, I’m taking a picture…

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