Sci-fi

Google Glass Gargoyles

The Atlantic ran an article this week called "How the Camera Doomed Google Glass." It was the creepiness of being "walking, talking invasions of privacy" that people found unacceptable. Funny that Neal Stephenson predicted that reaction in 1992 in Snow Crash. Hip skateboard courier YT is appalled when Hiro Protagonist (yep, that was really the central character's name) straps on a wearable computer fitted with surveillance gear and becomes a walking intel-vacuum. Stephenson calls these guys gargoyles, and captures the combination of creepiness and lameness this way:

Gargoyles represent the embarrassing side of the Central Intelligence Corporation. Instead of using laptops, they wear their computers on their bodies, broken up into separate modules that hang on the waist, on the back, on the headset. They serve as human surveillance devices, recording everything that happens around them. Nothing looks stupider; these getups are the modern-day equivalent of the slide-rule scabbard or the calculator pouch on the belt, marking the user as belonging to a class that is at once above and far below human society. They are a boon to Hiro because they embody the worst stereotype of the CIC stringer. They draw all of the attention. The payoff for this self-imposed ostracism is that you can be in the Metaverse all the time, and gather intelligence all the time. (pp. 123-124)