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William Gibson Thinks The Future Will View Us As A Joke, Here’s Why

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William GibsonNeuromancer author William Gibson is a writer known for having a very keen eye for the future, envisioning, among many other things, the rise of things like the Internet and reality television, and predicting mass human behavior. His visions of corporate dystopias where we’re all constantly distracted by technology and have an endless hunger for information, are eerily prescient considering the current state of the world. Given his track record, you can bet that Gibson has ideas on what the future will look like, particularly how they will look back on the here and now, and it’s not all that rosy. Imagine that.

Talking to Mother Jones, Gibson delved into a great many topics, but time travel came up. When asked the ubiquitous “if you could travel anywhere in time” question, Gibson proved to be more interested in seeing how future generations will think of us when they look back through the lens of history than with seeing what fun new toys they develop. He says:

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This Makes Google Glass Even More Obnoxious

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google glassI suppose the trend started with addictions to video games, which was the precise reason my parents never let me get a Nintendo. Internet addiction disorder (IAD) is a diagnosable and treatable condition, and with current plethora of gadgets and gizmos available, it was only a matter of time before other technology addictions started making the rounds. The latest: Google Glass addiction.

You won’t find IAD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—at least, not yet—but medical and psychological professionals agree that the disorder is real and problematic, though some think it’s largely one symptom stemming from other issues. As with any other addiction, people with IAD demonstrate compulsive behavior—namely, doing whatever it takes to get online via a computer or other device, or constantly thinking about getting online and the inability to control those thoughts and compunctions. The affliction is a broad term that also includes addiction to video games handheld devices, and now, Google Glass.

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Alamo Drafthouse Bans Google Glass

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glassI was in Michigan for the past week, and while driving in downtown Kalamazoo, I noticed that the old movie theater had been replaced by an Alamo Drafthouse, a movie theater with tables and food and beverage service. It’s a fun idea, and I idly wondered how much business the new one would bring in, oblivious to what was brewing in Alamo Drafthouse management: the banning of Google Glass.

Yep, the smart glasses have taken yet another hit, although it makes more sense to ban them in a movie theater than it does to ban them in a bar. I mean, sure, people can still record movies with their phones and whatnot, but Glass makes it even easier to do that. The issue first came up earlier this year when a guy in Columbus, Ohio wore his prescription lens Google Glass to Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. I’m not sure why he wanted to see the movie in such great detail, but that’s beside the point, and apparently he had been wearing his Glass everywhere for the previous two months, including to that same theater twice. The guy turned Glasses off before the movie started, using them only for the prescription lenses. About an hour into the show, a man with a badge approached the guy’s seat, tore the Glasses off his face and then directed him outside, where a bunch of cops were waiting.

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Thwart Glassholes With This Wi-Fi Disrupting Program

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banned glassThe Google Glass-capades continue. After the recent assaults on Glass wearers in San Francisco, as well as bars banning the device and people being (understandably) ticketed for wearing it while driving, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with a way to remotely disable the device.

Julian Oliver, an artist born in New Zealand, now based in Berlin, creates art, holds workshops, and teaches classes that include creative hacking, augmented reality, video game development, and more. His time in Berlin has made him especially sensitive to Google’s privacy invasions, particularly regarding Streetview. He sees Glass as the latest iteration of these infringements. On his website, where he first posted about “glasshole.sh,” he quotes from the Cypherpunk Manifesto, a doctrine that the NSA has essentially wiped their asses with: “Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world.”

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Move Over, Google Glass—Glyph Beams Images Straight Onto Your Eyeballs

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It was only a matter of time before Google Glass spawned other similar technologies. Glyph is one of those — a headset that uses something called Virtual Retinal Display to project images right onto the wearer’s retinas.

Glyph looks like big, noise-cancelling headphones that slip down over the wearer’s face. But instead of blocking the wearer’s view, it provides a whole new one unlike anything we’ve experienced before. Avegant, a company based in my old stomping grounds of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has devoted a lot of time and energy to figuring out how a small screen can deliver quality images. That’s how they came up with Virtual Retinal Display, which requires no screen at all, but rather uses one million micro-mirrors and optics to mimic natural human lighting and vision. Thus, the images are solid, sharper, and more real — there’s no pixelation at all.

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Designer Gives Us A Glimpse At The Future Of Our Faces

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augmented realityWearable technology is all the rage. We’re not just talking Google Glass, either, that’s downright primitive at this point. We’re talking everything from high-tech spacesuits to implants to contact lenses. Continuum’s Kiera Cameron wears a CMR that superimposes all kinds of data over a crime scene, like whose fingerprints are on the wall, the blood pressure of the potential suspect in the hallway, the origin of the mud on the floor. She looks at objects and sees something different than what we see. Neil Harbisson, the first person to take a passport photo without removing his cyborg attachments, hears colors—he definitely experiences the world differently than the rest of us. Designer Jenny Lee imagined the possibilities of how wearable technology could affect the way we see faces. Her augmented reality project, called “Immateriality: The Future Human,” offers a look at how our faces might appear in the year 2060.

augmented realityLee, who got the idea from a Google contact lens designer, uses something she calls “digital skins,” which are like geometric, virtual masks. She made physical shapes that resemble small sculptures via a “mineral crystallisation process” and used those as the basis for the digital skin. She set up interactive mirrors and participants in her project chose a shape they would see tessellated across their faces. As you watch the video, you notice that the faces are quite literally enhanced, with geometrical mountains of color up the ridge of someone’s nose, peaking at the forehead and again at the chin. Some faces look like a human mated with a Rubik’s Cube, or with a rose.