A few weeks after Google announced the completion of their paradigm-warping technology Google Glass, this picture appeared in the G+ account of Google VP Sebastian Thrun. It was taken while he was playing with his son and wearing his Glass technology — basically, a pair of "smart" glasses that can give you a virtual overlay on the real world, sort of like you're wearing your Android device in your eyeballs. Glass can take pictures too. And suddenly, when people saw what these pictures would look like, the idea of Glass caught fire. Thrun's picture was shared by thousands of people, including Google founder Sergey Brin.
This first-person perspective image captures a kid's smiling face, which isn't remarkable — until you consider that it could never have been taken by somebody holding a camera at the same time. Before this, the public hadn't really been sure what it would mean to wear a Glass device, other than getting a lot of ads trickling down the periphery of your vision. With Glass, you can record everything you see. Literally.
Other than turning the world into a giant panopticon, Glass could change everything from how people have arguments ("Oh you think you said that? I've got a recording that says otherwise.") to how we make amateur porn.
What else will change? Two science fiction short stories offer some ideas.
In Charlie Brooker's series Black Mirror, the segment "The Entire History of You" explores a society where everybody has implants in their brains that constantly record what they see. They can project their memories on screens and share them. It turns out there are incredibly dark ways this tech can be used in personal relationships.
In Jim Munroe's lo-fi movie Infest Wisely, the segment "Early Adopter" [watch it for free here] deals with a woman who tries out a beta version of a nanotechnology that turns your eyes into cameras after you chew a piece of gum. At first, she loves taking candid pictures, but then she finds out there are a few bugs . . . including ethical ones.
Enjoy the future, little ones!