“Inundated by more information than we can possibly hold in our heads, we’re increasingly handing off the china job of remembering to search engines and smart phones. Google is even reportedly working on eyeglasses that could one day recognize faces and supply details about whoever you’re looking at.” This is from a TIME magazine article by Annie Murphy Paul, entitled Your Head is in the Cloud.
Excuse me? Seriously? What details are there that we’ll need those glasses to supply? Name? How we’re related? Where we met the person? Last conversation? Status of their mother’s health?
The article is about how we are beginning to outsource our memories, rewiring our brains not to remember things but to remember where we can find out more about the thing when we next need to retrieve the information. Have you noticed how you remember less phone numbers these days because your phone does it for you? If you’re young, you will not get the point of that sentence. Have you noticed that you don’t remember how to get places as readily as you used to, because you know your handy GPS gal or guy will talk you through it?
Google really is developing Project Glass which would have us wearing glasses that provide points of data as we navigate our environment. The video is sort of cool, sort of creepy (more of the latter in my opinion).
I’m not sure how far anybody’s suggesting the glasses could realistically take us, in terms of face recognition capability, but when it comes to people, I want to hang in there and try, even as I age, to remember who my husband and children are… simply by sight. Call me old-fashioned, but I want to know who my friends are simply by the curve of their cheeks, the color of their eyes, the stockpile of data I’ve amassed through myriad points of contact. DUH. This is hyperbole, as I hope will be obvious.
But it does make the point that we’re moving towards barely seeing. I know I often have my eyes on something else besides the person I’m talking to. Yet how few moments I’ll have, really, in this life (regardless of how long I live) to look at the faces I consider most beautiful, the ones that draw me in, make my heart skip a beat, comfort me. I don’t want to miss any of those moments; they really are too few.
So put me down as one who’d not like to have glasses do the recognizing for me. That’s one part of my brain I don’t want to outsource. Just saying.
PHOTO CREDIT: Google+