Before you buy Google Glass, ask yourself: “Should I start smoking?”
“That’s an unfair comparison!” You’re right, it isn’t fair: Glass is potentially far worse than cigarette smoke.
I’m not going to tell you not to smoke—if you want to kill yourself slowly, painfully, expensively, that’s your prerogative.* But, while I’m merely irritated with second-hand smoke, second-hand glassing poses far greater marginal risk.
It’s the exhaust. The effect of smoke (cigarette exhaust) is obvious, temporary, physical, and immediately remedied. With Glass, the information exhaust—inconspicuous, permanent, virtual, and potentially irreversible—has unknown effect.
At worst, it’s distributed, indexed, searchable, immutable, and immortal Orwellian surveillance. We’d live in constant fear of making our own 47% comment without the fact-checking privileges enjoyed by a public figure.
Happily, there are easy solutions that satisfy both me and your respective addictions. For nicotine, consider vapor e-cigarettes (if you must) or better yet, a nicotine patch. For those sold on Glass, please encourage Google to manufacture options without recording devices.
Ultimately, we should all should be mindful of how our personal choices pollute the space around us and aim to be as considerate of others as possible. This should be plainly obvious, but as our personal technologies meld with our identities (like Drew Carey’s black frames, can you imagine seeing Sergey Brin without Glass now?) we should be especially careful.
*This is a lie. I’m militant about second-hand smoke and am quick to draw: either I’ll ask you to put the cigarette out or that you go somewhere else. All the while, I’m trying not to gag on air that passes over your tar-soaked fabric and am actively resisting the urge to spray your face with Febreze.