By Todd Wasserman
Humanity is about to undertake a bold experiment. If all goes as Google hopes, many of us will be strapping on Google Glasses later this year. The post-PC era in effect since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010 could give way to a the wearable computing era prompted by Glass.
Though there’s always a chance that the technology could fail miserably, it could also, as Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research suggests, be “the next Pinterest plus Amazon plus Facebook plus the iPhone put together.” In that case, Glass and other types of wearable computing will someday become the norm.
But what will that do to society? What will it do to our brains?
No one knows for sure, but scientists who have studied the effect that other types of technologies — like cell phones — have had on our health and thinking offer some hypotheses. Meanwhile, wearable computing pioneers have reported back from the front lines. They describe a world in which face-to-face interactions change in subtle ways and users form an attachment with their devices that is far more intimate than most of us have yet experienced. In this brave new world, we can expect to become turbo-charged with what amounts to a second brain, but also possibly more disconnected and, relatedly, less healthy.