Let's say in ten years you have digital glasses such as Google's Glass. Now let's say the glasses are Internet connected at high speed and have access to facial recognition software. And let's say the glasses allow you to replace whatever is in your field of vision with a computer generated image.

See where I'm going with this?

The implication of this technology is that you could make love to your spouse while wearing the glasses and replacing his/her face with the face of a preferred lover in real time. And I don't know if you can buy stock in blow-up sex doll companies but this would be a good time to get in on the ground floor. The manufacturer simply needs to color the dolls blue so the glasses can digitally create whoever you would like it to be.

Or the glasses could digitally airbrush real people who are standing in front of you. Perhaps software could add a tan or even subtract a few pounds. I would imagine software could find the midpoint of a human and digitally distort the stomach area to make the person's proportions just right.

I can imagine an old-folks care facility in which everyone wears blue clothing and digital glasses that make the residents look like their 20-year old selves. You'd be surrounded by old people but it would look like spring break.

Clothing fashion might stop being a thing in the real world because it is easier to change your outfit digitally. You simply transmit your wardrobe code to the observer and that person sees a CGI image of your clothing choice instead of the blue jump suit you are actually wearing. You could have dozens of virtual wardrobe changes in a day. Or you could appear with tattoos and a tongue ring to your young friends while appearing professionally dressed to business associates and family, all at the same time.

In the future, a television set might be nothing but a blue rectangle on a wall that has a bar code. Your glasses read the bar code and start transmitting images to you while keeping the images framed as if in the virtual TV on the wall. That way you can look around and not have your entire field of vision blocked by the TV image.

One of the worries about Google's Glass product is that people will hate talking in person to someone who is wearing them. But that is only a problem if one of you has the product and the other doesn't. In other words, 50% penetration of this product will be a nightmare whereas 100% penetration is fun for all.

Therefore, I predict that Google and other big tech companies will give away digital glasses for free someday, so they can skip the 50% nightmare penetration level and go straight to 100%, or near it, where they need to be. The business model will involve selling subscription connections to the Internet and having access to all of the apps and services. And I assume there will be an advertising model. In any case, I would expect digital glasses to go from a novelty item for geeks to a nearly 100% adoption rate within five years of the technology reaching some minimum level of functionality. And that will happen because the glasses will be free.

I would imagine that even people with no money could use digital glasses in WiFi hot spots and still have access to the most basic functions without a subscription. So money won't be much of an obstacle.

By the way, I realized yesterday that my generation is the last of the pure humans. Most people my age were raised with no personal technology. Someday historians will mark the smartphone era as the beginning of the Cyborg Age. From this day on, most kids in developed countries will be part human and part machine. As technology improves, we will keep adding it to our bodies.

And if that isn't scary enough, check out the folks trying to design new life forms at the DNA level.


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Jul 8, 2013
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Jun 4, 2013
(Spoiler alert!) A short story by Terry Pratchett, published in "A Blink of the Screen" if I remember correctly, was based on a similar premise. A woman was discovered to have died several years ago, despite having been seen in public regularly, including taking vacations.
Jun 3, 2013
You need to go read Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge.

The story introduces a similar concept, just with contact lenses instead of glasses.

0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 2, 2013
Once again, people are trying to pass themselves off as something they're not. The form may change, but the underlying desire to deceive is still there.

Boob jobs? Other Cosmetic Surgery? How about Make-up? Or Hair Coloring? Even people who go to the gym and shoot up with steroids are all trying to be something they're not. I wish they'd stop it.

It's not like it's helping. You think people don't know the difference between real boobs and fake? Make-up or Clean? People who have had work done? Yeah - we see it - and the insecurity it is masking is not attractive.

Want to get my attention? Eat right, work out, dress well, read, and take care of yourself. But don't go to a doctor to get some work done unless it's medically necessary. Learn to be comfortable in your own skin, and people will be much more comfortable with you too.

Maybe I'm just a young guy with old fashioned ideas... but I think this virtual persona thing is just another way for people to pretend what they're not. It's a short-term short-cut. But people like us will see through the veneer, and avoid the people that try to be something they aren't.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 2, 2013
Send the blow-up dolls and glasses to the old folks' homes. Then they can talk non-stop about their ailments/grandchildren/good-old-days all day long to a doll that looks like it's a real person who cares.
And if grandpa is feeling frisky, well...
May 31, 2013
[ You'd be surrounded by old people but it would look like spring break. ]

Sure, if the hotties on South Padre were using walkers or confined to wheel chairs, and preferred watching NCIS to downing Jell-O shots. This would be more useful for a 45-year-old stripper who could still dance but had a muffin top and a Caesarian scar. )Unless that was your thing, in which case the glasses could add them in.)
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
May 31, 2013
If these glasses make all the nursing home nurses look like the Bad Idea T-Shirt girl, then sign me up.
May 31, 2013
See also: The low budget scifi film "Virtual Nightmare", in which people live in an idyllic suburbia, but a couple of people discover that it is all a lie. Mysterious antennas are beaming images into everybody's heads, and our heroes start to see the truth, that they are living in filth and eating rotting food. There is an enclosed building on the edge of town in which the privileged people live in comfort and obsessed with cleanliness, only occasionally venturing out in full hazmat suits. Then at the very end they are able to block the antenna network from their heads completely and discover the real truth, everything is plain white and beige with barcodes on them, one of their friends still receiving the transmissions is shown eating generic plain crackers out of a plain white box with a barcode, thinking it is some tasty snack.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 31, 2013
OMG! Do you have any idea the CHAOS this would cause? No longer will the native adorables among us take their natural place at the top of the social hierarchy. The cute perkies in marketing might one day be replaced with competent dumpies - who, thanks to google glass, now look like cute perkies to the casual observer.

Of course the day China shuts down the grid, the cognitive shock will cause society to collapse.
May 31, 2013
Always fun to read the "hey, read this book" posts. Seriously, can you people at least summarize it or something. You sound like "Hey, I have an opinion. My opinion was authored by a guy and he wrote it in a book. Please research my opinion, because I can't remember/articulate/communicate it, right now."
May 31, 2013
The same concept, (excluding all the naughty parts - sorry), is explored somewhat in William Gibson's novel Spook Country (2007). It's set at about the same time, so interestingly getting the necessary bandwidth is a persistent problem.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 31, 2013
Why do I always have the impression that you live in a different world than mine?
May 31, 2013
Scott, you need to read a book called The Golden Age by John C. Wright. A lot of similar concepts to your article, without having to wear glasses all the time to achieve it.
May 31, 2013
I'd think you'd need something more like a full VR set to achieve what you are discussing than just the Google Glasses, but I don't want to carp. Just take me straight to the Brain-in-a-vat stage already, so I can have my pleasure centers stimulated until they burn out or whatever.
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
May 31, 2013
PeterJ57: "We spent a lot of last century unpicking problems caused by scientists who didn't understand what we were doing (Myxamatosis, DDT)."
Uh, yes. But that's progress for you. If we had waited until we "understood" CO2, we would still be in the pre-steam-engine age.
You invent things, like them, use them and a few are duds and you deal with the fallout. In other words - normalcy.
May 31, 2013
That article is frightening in its lack of basic knowledge:
"We live in a society which is dependent on coal and oil.
We should look at life - they can produce everything we get from fossil fuels."

Duh - Fossil fuels ARE life!

And empathy:
"Wouldn't it be nice if we could load up a tree's genetic code, drag and app from a file and make it glow in the dark".

Why - because it is better for the tree? Or just as a party game?

We spent a lot of last century unpicking problems caused by scientists who didn't understand what we were doing (Myxamatosis, DDT).

It looks like we learned nothing.
+10 Rank Up Rank Down
May 31, 2013
Sex with glasses on? Not really.

But I find the idea of manipulating the things you see interesting. The next chinese hacker attack will feature mass accidents when road-crossing people are run over by edited-out cars.

As to your blue blow-up dolls, there may be a market with smurf fans. :-)
May 30, 2013
Sounds kinda like a mashup of The Matrix and Shallow Hal.
May 30, 2013
For crying out loud, go watch the movie Surrogates already, Scott! :) It's all about EXACTLY what you're talking about here.
+8 Rank Up Rank Down
May 30, 2013
[ Someday historians will mark the smartphone era as the beginning of the Cyborg Age. ]

When I ask my 16-year old if he has his cell phone on him he looks at me like I am crazy. Guess for him that is like asking if he remembered to bring his feet.
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