They’re at it again. Our hipster chums in Silicon Valley are predicting the future for us. Apparently, sooner than we think, smart phones will become obsolete and we’ll all be sporting augmented reality headsets.
Hang on a minute. Haven’t we been here before? I can’t remember what they were called (which fact tells its own tale) but it wasn’t that long ago that we were all supposed to be wearing some ridiculous glasses in a bid to improve our day-to-day existence and enhance the very experience of living? Trouble was, nobody was prepared to look like a poor man’s Elton John circa 1973, in return for a map of the surrounding area and line of dots guiding us to the nearest chip shop.
That’s the trouble with geeks - their vision of the future is so narrow that it precludes any development that doesn’t hold as sacred the advancement of technology. As far as I could gather - these new glasses will be more George Michael than Elton John (I’m not sure which would be worse, frankly) and will augment our reality with holograms and internet access and unicorns and stuff like that. Blimey, surely reality’s complicated enough without exacerbating the situation. I can’t help envisaging loads of people on the high street flailing around like Jeremy Vine on election night, each locked in their own hermetically sealed world, totally oblivious to their surroundings. So, a bit like now then but with snazzy specs and some waving limbs to boot.
There’s another problem. If everyone is wearing identical specs, then we’re all going to look very much the same. I have a hard enough time in the summer saying hello to people in sunglasses around Malaga. Either I offer a hearty greeting to someone I don’t even know or I completely ignore someone I shouldn’t. “Sorry, granddad - it’s your sunglasses, I’m afraid.”
No, someone needs to get down to Silicon Valley sharpish and interrupt the organic-coffee-table- tennis-beard- growing- championships in order to let these chaps know that they might be wrong. Once their eyes have stopped swivelling on their own axis at the very thought that they may actually be mistaken, you can explain in kindly tones that there’s a very big chance that the next generation will rebel and discard the folly of their parents and grandparents (as new generations have always done down the centuries, in fact). They’ll laugh heartily at their dad’s endless pictures of his food and at people watching live concerts through their telephone screens and at couples sitting in romantic restaurants checking their TwitFace feeds. They’ll chortle merrily at selfish - sorry I mean ‘selfie’ - sticks and, in fact, the totally egocentric nature of our absurd antics.
I, for one, have faith which, ironically, is something George Michael used to sing about.