We’ll have coffee shops full of people twitching in little kinetic patterns. Maybe the gestures will gain a rhythm, it’ll be a little bit like dancing with our hands. But we’ll probably still take the glasses off when our friend joins our table.
The very best thing I learned this year at SXSW is that people in the Valley have coined a term for the weird, half-conscious expression that Google Glass wearers get on their faces when they are concentrating on doing things with the tiny little screen inside their glasses. They call it “glassed out,” which you would use in a sentence like: “Barry.” “Barry.” “BARRY!!!” Oh, nvm, he’s glassed out, that explains it, ok.” I love it. I love how it sounds so cyberpunky, so disturbingly druggy, almost like something out of Strange Days. We also discussed whether or not “glass-eye” would become a common stress injury, not unlike BlackBerry thumb, to describe people who had gone a little soft or cross-eyed from only using one eye to flick-navigate through the Glass interface. I get that Glass changes how we think about mobile computing, and that is cool, but I’m starting to care a lot more about how it changes our perception of what is means to be online and what it means to be offline. Present and not present. How those very private interfaces will still be very, very public and present in interactions. How the machinery disappears for the wearer but remains totally visible and intrusive to the rest of us. How we’ll wonder whether or not you’re secretly reading Twitter while sitting in class. At work. Talking to us on a date. Future starts now.
Instead of showing us the real Beyoncé, if such a person exists, what this documentary shows us is that Beyoncé’s is as much a produced affair as her latest album or music video. There’s no shame in that. In fact, it might even be brilliant, that no matter what, she’s keeping herself to herself. Ultimately, Beyoncé understands her life as commodity. She understands what her audience wants. She gives us exactly that.