Borg Complex Alert!

BorgIt’s been a while since I’ve had occasion to point out a Borg Complex case, but the folks at Google have seen fit to help me remedy that situation.

At MIT’s EmTech conference last Thursday, the head of the display division at Google-X, Mary Lou Jepsen, gave us a few gems.

Speaking of Google Glass and its successors, Jepsen explained, “It’s basically a way of amplifying you. I’ve thought for many years that a laptop is an extension of my mind. Why not have it closer to my mind, and on me all the time?”

Why not, indeed.

In any case, her division is hard at work. They are “maybe sleeping three hours a night to bring the technology forward.”

“It’s coming,” she added. “I don’t think it’s stoppable.” Then why, I ask, lose so much sleep over it. One really ought not wear oneself ragged over something that’s bound to come to pass inevitably.

But, as per Mr. Brin’s directives, she wasn’t saying much about what exactly was coming. Whatever the next iteration of wearable computing looks like, Jepsen tells us “you become addicted to the speed of it, and it lets you do more fast and easily.”

Concerns? Never you mind. Remember Mr. Schmidts’s comforting assurances: “Our goal is to make the world better. We’ll take the criticism along the way, but criticisms are inevitably from people who are afraid of change or who have not figured out that there will be an adaptation of society to it.”

Silly fearful critics. Don’t they know resistance is futile, society will be assimi … er … will adapt.

15 thoughts on “Borg Complex Alert!

  1. Excellent commentary, Michael. Especially enjoyed your conclusion, which correctly points out an attitude that must be pretty similar to that of the pioneering Americans as they overtook the Native Americans: If you don’t want to go along with our way of doing things, too bad for you. I also like you point about the feverishness with which the technophiles are driving toward the Singularity. I make the same point in my book. If it’s inevitable, why proselytize so fervently on its behalf?

  2. Well done, Michael.

    This guy Schmidt comes across as condescending and pompous. Schmidt, “…but criticisms are inevitably from people who are afraid of change or who have not figured out that there will be an adaptation of society to it.” Can you imagine his fear if his world was turned upside down and the grand success he has had no longer meant anything to anyone anywhere? Think of a scene from a dystopian film or book. (Something that could someday be an unintended consequence of his company’s efforts.)

  3. “It’s basically a way of amplifying you.” But as the great Bill Cosby said, “What if you’re an asshole?”

  4. Hey Michael,

    Criticism is good , but dont you think that they are for the improving our standards and not because, they are afraid of doing the stuff we do in the first place?

    In fact , a critic would be your contempory in your particular field so he could be knowing what you do.

    1. Raj,

      Just to be clear. I’m in favor of criticism, and I do not endorse the view expressed by the Google spokespersons. Forgive me if I’ve misunderstood your comment, though.



  5. I’ve read that the ‘next big thing’ is ‘wearable technology,’ otherwise known as a watch/smartphone rolled into one. Given the screen-space required to actually do something with a touch screen, I don’t think this is the next big thing. Google glasses may be on to something, but I think they are still in gimmick territory, and not a practical, usable device.
    I also make sure to separate from the hive-mind of my laptop once a day.

  6. Staying up late, at least in this context, means you find the work too interesting to go to sleep. I find myself doing the same when I’m messing about patching and tweaking Skyrim. Like many others I get more fun, enjoyment & satisfaction messing about & modding with the game, than actually playing it. It’s the classic “one more go” syndrome, (or flow) that you get with really good games.

    As for what’s coming, I guess some analogue of “Google Island” or “better humans” where the tech utopians get their hearts desire, it’s all shiny, and there are things to endlessly tweak and experiment with. While dystopians and those who are afraid of change are horrified. Death is the only constant in human life so far, but change, (excepting the “dark ages”) would have to be a close second.

    Happiness as they say is a means of travel, not a destination.

    What is more scary, that Google/Schmidt should achieve their dream, or that they actually believe in it?

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