Google’s Project Glass and A2AI’s o2Amp pave the way to the arrival of mainstream wearable computing… and more.
1918 : the first reflector sight is used in a German military aircraft.
1958: the first HUD is used is an UK military aircraft.
1970: HUD are introduced in civilian aircrafts.
1980: Steve Mann develops the first wearable computer.
1988: HUD are introduced in production cars.
2012: Google releases Google Glass.
The 1995-2005 decade was about mobile telephony.
The 2005-2015 decade is about mobile computing.
And the 2015-2025 decade will be about wearable computing.
Guess what’s next? Yeah, implanted computing.
Mobile telephony helped seeding the idea of wireless communication, of rendering mobile and personal something that was previously considered innately unmovable.
Mobile computing spread the idea that mobility does not have to be a second-grade player.
Wearable computing will in turn make technology closer to us. We are using clothes for millennia. We are using glasses for centuries. Every morning, we are dressing ourselves almost automatically. Being dressed is a “on by default” attitude, whilst being connected or, dare I say, electronically augmented is still an “off by default” habit. With the rise of wearable computing, electronic augmentation will become an always-on feature. Guess what, Google agrees:
Wearable Computing Will Be the Norm
Always-on is only the first evolution. The second is about narrowing the gap between tools and flesh. Before that, tools were inches away from the skin. The only exception was for actually handling the tool – pressing a button or touching a screen for example. Now, skin contact will be permanent – either direct, as for glasses, or semi-direct over undergarments for a jacket. The next step of course is to go below the flesh — implanted computing.
Mobile, wearable, implanted. This is the three-steps way to transhumanism. But I am pretty confident this is only the beginning. The fourth step is: natural. Natural itself has a tryptic, which goes that way: biotech, genetech, germline genetech. Once the germline milestone will have been reached, we won’t talk about a human species anymore. The true challenge will be to accept to talk about the human genus? As Juan Enriquez said, the normal state of affair is to have several human species. After the wearcomp decade and a cyborg decade will come a “geneborg” decade.
Robots won’t inherit the Earth. Posthumans will.