“It’s coming,” said Google Xer Mary Lou Jepsen last week. “I don’t think it’s stoppable.” She’s referring, of course, to Glass, Google’s much anticipated head-mountable. “I’ve thought for many years that a laptop is an extension of my mind,” she continued. “Why not have it closer to my mind?” Hmm. Next time I see Spock, I’m going to have to ask him if that’s logical. In the meantime, I will sleep with my Air under my pillow, just in case.
“You become addicted to the speed of it,” Jepsen confessed. Like all junkies, she craves more. Glass is just the “Model T” of wearables. In the churning bowels of the company’s secret lab, she let on, new and even zippier generations of mind-melding computers are already taking shape. “I’m now running a super-secret, stealth part of Google X that I can’t tell you anything about today. I’m really sorry. Maybe next year. Probably next year.” Jepsen said that she and her team are only sleeping three hours a night. That’s how important their work is.
Michael Sacasas sees Jepsen’s words as yet another manifestation of what he terms the Borg Complex — the quasi-religious belief that computer technology is an inexorable force carrying us to a better world. Only losers would be so foolish as to resist. Earlier this year, Eric Schmidt gave the starkest expression of this view. Also speaking of Glass, he said: “Our goal is to make the world better. We’ll take the criticism along the way, but criticisms are inevitably from people who are afraid of change or who have not figured out that there will be an adaptation of society to it.” Inevitably. Schmidt, in his benighted fashion, wants to imbue adaptation, a fundamentally amoral process, with a moral glow. To adapt is to improve, history and biology be damned.
There is no greater arrogance than the arrogance of those who assume their intentions justify their actions.