It’s impossible to predict the future, but the idea that our technology will soon collide with our biological sense of vision continues to pop up in the world. Minority Report is the best fictional example, while Google Glass is obviously the closest real-world iteration of this type of collision to date.
But a new video (below) posted by Sight Systems takes a stab at how this marriage of sight with technology could manifest itself in the coming years (or perhaps decades).
The video depicts some kind of system in which the technology itself is embedded in your eyeball, meaning that tons of apps lead you through your day without any extra hardware at all. You see the main character, Patrick, work out on his floor, watch TV (on an entirely blank wall), get dressed using some type of virtual closet app, and use the Wingman app to help him through a date.
As with any large shift in technology, this type of lifestyle will have its pros and its cons.
People are constantly complaining about a lack of real-life interaction now that smartphones have pervaded the our world. You can’t talk to someone for five seconds without either their phone or your phone interrupting. And even without an interruption, there’s this constant need to Instagram it, post it to Facebook, tweet about it, text someone else about it, or even whip out the phone to look up the next stop on tonight’s journey. Sight Systems, if it was real, would change that disconnect a bit, but it would also externalize even more knowledge.
Devin explains it best in his post on the matter, but in short, the more we use knowledge found on the Internet (and not in our own minds) the less capacity we have to actually hold that knowledge internally. The best example in the video would be Patrick making his breakfast. Rather than knowing the recipe and cooking it, his Sight System gamifies the process and walks him through each individual step, virtualized on his counter-top.
While we’re already sliding down this slippery slope, Googling knowledge instead of retaining it, there are still limitations to it. Even in our hyper-connected world, there are certain times when you simply don’t have access to the Internet, and even if you do, there are things (very few things, but they exist) that cannot be looked up.
But by embedding the technology within our bodies, the externalizing of knowledge becomes internal. That sounds really meta — let’s see if I can clarify. Here’s an example:
The other day I realized that I can’t quite remember which temperature certain types of clothes should be washed at. I looked it up, and washed the clothes. That is knowledge that my mother gave me, but that I pushed out of my memory because I knew it was easily accessible (this is all subconscious, of course). If the Internet were broken, globally, and there was some sort of world disaster, the consequence wouldn’t just be me not knowing how to wash my clothes. The consequence would be billions of people who have no idea how to deal with an Internet-less world.
By embedding this type of technology in our bodies, there is absolutely zero freedom from this externalized knowledge. There is no way to resist the temptation to “look it up.” And thus, everything we know comes from the technology inside us rather than our own brains.
It’s a scary thought, but so is the ending of the video.