If you analyze the present, people think you talk about the future   – Clive Thompson

Today in Microsoft Design Expo class Clive Thompson came to talk to us about his experience with Google Glass. He talked about the problems he identified when using it over the course of 3 months.

He mentioned Thad Starner as the first person to wear a computer on himself

And Steve Mann as the person who claims to be the first person to wear a computer. He also wrote about Sousveillance .

He talked about  MIT’s Borgs and how when people wear a wearable device which is white people tend to think that it’s a medical device. Any other color is perceived as fashion.

Clive said that from their experience the Borgs did not wear cameras as they noticed it used to freak people out.

He mentioned Edward Thorp and Clause Shannon as the first people who made what we call ‘wearable device’ when wore this computer to try to win blackjack roulette game in Las Vegas in the 1960’s.

Clove said what he wished Google Glass would do for him is to display and remind him information that he already new, to help enhance conversations, similarly to the way Thad Starner used to use his wearable computer.

Google Glass instead was all about social sharing. Messaging worked really well, and the hardware is very well advanced but the experience of using Glass didn’t add anything to what a smart phone could do for you. Clove said he wanted a device to talk to himself, stretch his memory in a sense, rather than continuously sharing his experience with others over a social network.

The problems with Glass were the creepiness of having the camera on in everyones face, without signaling to others if it is recording or not. It took great quality photos and video but it went against social conventions. It also had privacy issues, you couldn’t tell what someone was watching when he was right next to you, and sharing their screen was hard. No one knew what he was looking at. To start recording you would either tap on the side of the glass or tilt your head back, as if nodding at someone. This was also a strange gesture which was putting off people and made you into a greater creep.

Clive did really like that he could use the device as a peripheral screen. He set it to his Twitter account and programmed it to show just the tweets from the people he really wanted to follow, and so in his peripheral vision he could follow social media without checking his phone constantly for updates, and read and work on other things. This was his favorite feature in Glass.  Ambient notes.

Think about the visible vs. the invisible – how sometimes it’s better to exaggerate  and make it fun rather than try to hide devices. An example that was given was the hearing aid – would be cooler if it was just out there and over the top designed with no shame. This is something that is happening now in prosthetics.

Clive mentioned Mind Craft as the super successful must look social game.


and I bought Clive Thompson’s book today Smarter Than You Think