I did look heaven-ward when I watched a video called ‘Google Glasses Project’. It reminded me of how the mind struggles with innovation. Watch the video below and see if you can spot the problem that I call ‘innovation incongruence’. Stop reading now and return after you watch the video, so you can test you powers of observation.
Here is an analogy: In the days before electric lighting, the gas lantern illuminated the streets. An incongruent innovator might have predicted that, one day in the advanced future, the world will have mechanised gas lighting technology using automatic wind-up timers that would throw a spark across the gas lantern in order to ignite it automatically. See how daft it is to keep adding clever ideas to an old method? To a futurist who is unable to consider electricity or other lighting systems, gas lanterns become the centre of all ideas. Similarly, if you ask two people to make a bookshelf for you, you’re likely to end up with a shelving system based upon the skills in which each person specialises. The carpenter will give you a wooden shelf, while the metal-worker will construct a metal shelf. People ‘think’ and ‘conceive’ in terms of what they know best. In the absence of unimagined scenarios, the solution will always be around what is readily at hand.
It’s as funny as going to an optometry conference and listening to a presentation called ‘The future of eyewear’ wherein the lecturer would tell us that the glasses-of-the-future will be lighter or brighter or come with LCD units or battery-operated computers… It would be rare to hear the CEO of a glasses manufacturer admit that the future for glasses is grim if, in due course, DNA tampering would enable scientists to rectify the problems associated with weak eyes. One day, we will fix the diseases that attack our eyes, to the point where humans will no longer need glasses. It is strange that humans walk around with plastic and metal hanging upon their nose. We do not seem to notice what is ubiquitous.
So let’s return to the video by Google. What’s so very funny about it? No, not that they are imagining a world with glasses, but that the video paints a scenario of a man going to a bookstore. Halt! Google will soon become the largest library in the world. It is already the largest e-book store. So would it not make sense that the man in the video, who is using Google’s Goggles, would be smart enough to know that if he needed a book, he would download it from Google Books? Why would he bother walking all the way to the bookstore?
I just found it strange that the scenario is so mundane. It shows a lack of understanding.
By the way, I did find this funny. I am sure we can all think of additional scenes for this spoof version of the video.