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I am in competition with you for all sorts of experiences – you will lose (glass-apps.org)
21 points by infoman 1605 days ago | hide | past | web | 49 comments | favorite

Too often real innovation is lost behind froth and grandstanding like this - too many excitable nerds and shiny toys, not enough introspection on the effects of technology on society. Not enough emphasis on problems that need solving, too much on how to raise more ad revenue or VC money.

I saw this talk live at NEXTBerlin, and while in the audience all I could think was 'wow, I don't care at all if you win - your life sounds like it must suck if you're competing for ridiculous minutiae - and what has this got to do with privacy anyway?'. Questions of privacy - an important pillar of digital policy in Germany and other EU states - were brushed aside at the prospect of faster airline tickets and 'competition for experience', whatever that means.

Really? Can Scoble not imagine a world where experience isn't a zero sum game? Is this the perception of the world we're being locked into by technology?

Google Glass has a lot of potential in some spaces - in teaching, in medicine, in law enforcement - but I am terrified that its evangelists and early adopters are brushing aside the concerns of a digital layer in front of real experiences so readily, as if more technology is automatically a good thing.

I was shocked that he thinks I'd be competing with him for a raise. He's not even on the same playing field as I am if a raise is what he is after.

He is obviously talking metaphorically. He knows he is not competing with you or with any of the many people listening to his talk. The point is, people in your playing field using better tech than you will win over you.

Sure. You win Scoble. You just go ahead and book that flight or grab that table. I'll be here in my log cabin in the mountains, looking at the stars, and losing.

Yeah, that rat-race competition bit really rubbed me the wrong way. As if we aren't already competing for enough things, now I'm supposed to worry that John Doe is stealing all my potential good experiences because of his Glass? Maybe this appeals to and motivates others to buy, but definitely not me.

looking at the stars and taking pictures while holding your girlfriend with both hands and not fiddling with your camera

Certainly a winner at the "hyper competitive dickhead" experience.

Not sure how that does anything except reinforce his point. It's not about flights or tables. It's about taking advantages and using them. That you are sitting in a log cabin in the mountains, looking at the stars, posting to HN firmly demonstrates his point.

Taking advantages for... happiness? Does not look like.


> I'll be here in my log cabin in the mountains, looking at the stars

He needed a physical thing in a physical location doing a specific action to acquire this happiness, and you presume to suggest that others can't have happiness on other criteria? That enjoyment can't be found in other ways?

More importantly, it's how the OP defined success. It's arrogance masked under a guise of zen attitude.

Oh, I was just being a bit oversarcastic. Never intended to say that technology could not help on the path to happinness. But the very title of the post looked like someone trying to sell me the pill for the definitive way to enlightenment.

I am very much pro discussing things but with so much pushing forward and "this is THE WAY" I (as many others) are getting a bit tired, which might be as good because in the end, what do we want from life? Glass? Technology? iOS? iTunes? The roomba? What?

> I am very much pro discussing things but with so much pushing forward and "this is THE WAY" I (as many others) are getting a bit tired, which might be as good because in the end, what do we want from life? Glass? Technology? iOS? iTunes? The roomba? What?

What's wrong with any of these things? The technology required to make the Roomba effective meant so much more has been created. The Roomba isn't the end. It's a sign of how far we've come. And do we really want to waste time doing what the roomba can do for us?

As for iOS, what's wrong with that? It's done tremendous good. Both my children have Autism, and what iOS has done for them is amazing. No one could have predicted that before, but now it's a standard part of treatment.

And Glass. Who can tell you what Glass will lead to. It's still too early to tell.

That's not what Scoble was directly referring to, but in each of these cases, we are taking advantage of technology. It's so easy to talk about a log cabin in the middle of the woods, far from the city so you can gaze up into the sky and watch the stars. However, that's far too selfish and egotistical for me.

I think Scoble might be missing a very important point. Our ability to access information isn't the problem. We all already have (nearly) instant access to all the information we'll need.

The thing that worries me most about Glass is that it's solving the wrong problem. We're not running around in a world where it's too much of a bother to look at our phone, but instead that we're less and less capable of focus.

If you look at the nature of our technology, we've already (mostly) solved the problem of information search and retrieval at any time. We all have a very near the same quality experience when it comes to information.

But where we break apart is in the ability to focus and make new connections from the data. I wonder whether Glass users are drowning themselves in more noise, and not really getting the space to create new, meaningful, creative connections.

I wonder whether we need new ways to disconnect more intensely than we need a more subtle overlay of noisy information on our reality.

>Our ability to access information isn't the problem.

I disagree with you both on this point and your characterization of Glass as a "subtle overlay of noisy information".

Nowadays, although that information access is quick, it could be quicker and more seamless. There's a world of difference between:

1. Fishing out your smartphone from your pants/bag/wherever

2. Unlocking it (with requisite passcode, thanks corporate IT)

3. Bringing up the search app

4. And either saying what you want after invoking the voice search (and hoping it comes up right, or else you get to do it over again) or typing what you want (and hoping you made no mistakes).


1. Saying, at any time, "Ok Glass, search for (thing)", and having the results played back so you can hear them.

The first one feels contrived and annoying, the second feels passive and natural in comparison.

Glass is unique in that the first two steps of that transaction are eliminated outright, and the third is reduced to saying some magic words. The fourth is greatly mitigated by the fact that Glass is likely in a better position to capture your voice than the speakerphone mic on your smartphone.

Passive access to information (and I'm saying access, not overlay, for a good reason) is going to be the next big thing for precisely this reason, ease of use!

But let's take another example. I'm sure you've seen the posts decrying someone "missing out" on some event because they were too busy recording it. Now? That's not a problem anymore. "Ok Glass, record a video". You're done. You don't have to think about it, you just launch the recording and then go back to whatever you were doing.

Focus? You barely even see Glass unless you're actively looking up at it. Indeed, you need to "focus" on it to use it. The transaction is just reduced from messing with your phone to an upwards glance.

This is also why I disagree with your assessment of glass as being both an overlay (which it isn't), and noisy (which it isn't, and which would go against the guidelines anyways).

I'm finding more and more that people who feel they need to "disconnect" are simply failing at technology. You are no more connected than you let yourself be! If you are so wired in, by your own choices, that you feel the need to get away from it all for a length of time, how about just not wiring yourself in that tightly?

A point very well made - in fact there's a startup here working on that precise problem, that is how to disengage from the endless barrage of notifications from a billion services all vying for attention.

That facebook home ad with the distracted employee creeps me out for this exact reason

Fluffy marketing bullshit. Sorry.

Privacy concerns are legitimate. Google Glass may not even be the problem. But the impact of the availability of ever more personal data in the hands of government and corporations for our society needs to be discussed. People have a legitimate right to know about their data trails.

PS: The #next conference "stole" their slogan¹ from the 26C3 Chaos Communication Congress²

1: http://nextberlin.eu/2013/04/behind-the-scenes-at-next13/

2: http://events.ccc.de/congress/2009/

It's not exactly an uncommon phrase...

Yes. I won't impeach them. I think it is worth pointing out because it shows a certain lack of creativity to use a slogan from a very popular conference held in the same city just some years ago. This and considering their presentation as leaders in all aspects give me the impression of poor style from them.

How popular is the phrase for native english speakers?

I would add an 'if' to the headline to make it less inflamatory: 'If I am in competition with you for all sorts of experiences, you will lose'.

I am not competing with you, and I do not care if I take a late flight, or do not have a reservation to this restaurant because in my mind reality is not goal driven, but path driven.


Getting the answer or the data isn't really the biggest issue. The problem is understanding what that data actually means. I am pretty convinced (given the students I observe), that google helps with data and trivia, but doesn't help with the understanding of what that trivia means. Put another way, you can access data faster than someone without the glasses, but can you turn that data into information?

I am all for the demise of rote learning of names and dates, but I think we need more tools for explaining the how / why and not the what. You can lookup the API calls with the glasses, but not know how to do the design of those API calls.

It's funny how people here automatically start the reactionary rejection of a new technology taking over our current way of processing information.

It is not really a competition about who lives a better life, or what is the true experience. It is about how general people's life will be changed by the product. Scoble's point is very clear: the product gives users power through technological superiority and let them have a new mean of social display. When everyone starts to get Google Glass, its function no longer matters; it becomes a social device.

I think the sort of future where I need to buy and use a device from a corporation to modulate my experience and participate in society is a pretty shitty future, and we should be doing some thinking about that.

Having to use corporation-made tools to fully participate in society is not the future, it's the past and present. Cellphones, computers, cars, house appliances, even (regular) glasses if you have poor eyesight, it's all required if you want to participate in society as it expects you to.

If you mean from a single corporation, that's just a temporary condition; competitors are already starting to appear: http://www.slashgear.com/telepathy-one-takes-on-google-glass...

I don't think any of the things you mention are equivalently intrusive. But it's a point that scares me a little.

An experience mediated by technology is not the same thing as the original experience - we can debate whether it makes the experience richer or poorer, but it certainly makes the experience different.

Even a UI-less, effortless experience transforms the experience. For instance, passively recording what you see through Google Glass will cause you to view the world with a mind towards recording and archiving your experience.

While Scoble believes he is winning a competition, he is simply opting into a different set of experiences - one where he might get access to things like airline tickets or restaurant reservations a little faster than the rest of us, but also one where he's also constantly evaluating how to use the technology he's carrying to interact with the world. Some people will prefer this set of experiences, while others will prefer the originals.

Both types of people should be able to get what they want, but I worry that Google Glass will alter the experiences of everybody, not just its users. We all act and think differently when we're aware we're being recorded - it makes us more self-conscious, putting us in an 'observe ourselves' mindset that competes with the 'observe the world around you' mindset. In a world with a plurality of Google Glass-wearers, we'll have to assume we're constantly being recorded when around other people, and that's not something I particularly care to experience.

It should be noted that Glass does not - and cannot, for battery constraints - record everything the user sees.

The examples mentioned in the article (plane flights, tables at restaurants) involve competition between people in the same place 'competing' because a given resource is scarce. I'm not making the link to privacy laws at nation state level. There are buses and trains as well as planes. There will be slightly later planes. There are plenty of places to eat where I live.

And then you suffer a tragic family loss or an incurable decease or something, and you gain some humility and perspective....

Wait until network effects take place and it creates a lock-in for a specific vendor. (Besides, congestion will strike and he will also loose a lot of his races.)

So, it is true, we are in a competition, but not the competition that Scoble is referring to.

The competition is more about open standards, patent laws and the future of freedom.

Man, I'd love to be in a place where my only worries are if I get the last table in the restaurant or the last flight home.

Meanwhile, don't we have more important things to do than listen to someone go "yeah, I can use my apps faster than you"?

> Meanwhile, don't we have more important things to do than listen to someone go "yeah, I can use my apps faster than you"?

Children dying of hunger in Africa. If you aren't working on that, you are a bad, bad person and should be ashamed.

Everything else is a waste.

This reminds me Falken's law from War Games. True for many games: the best way to win is to not play.

I'm guessing that anything Scoble is competing with me for, I probably wouldn't be very interested in, so he's welcome.

(Except maybe that airline ticket if I don't get one of the remaining two...)

it is the same thing with being able to google really well.

I was about 1000% more efficient than my coworkers at new things, ways and information because I googled fast and found the information.

This. The ability to Google efficiently is severely underrated.

Do you (or someone) know about any tutorial or a book for learning how to google? Is "how to google" only about phrasing queries, using correct words, improving query using results from its previous version, using quotes, and so on, or is it something more?

Using my google-fu ;) I found this link which may or may not be any good(http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators.html).

I have never used operators myself, I think just the way you structure and choose your words wisely has the most impact.

!true! and people don't listen when I tell them to learn and try to google everything before trying to find your own solution. You better improve on what other people already did and thought about

The fact that Googling efficiently is a skill that matters is a clear opportunity for a Google competitor.

How so? Any Google competitor will either have similar syntax (so the "google-fu" will translate and you might as well just use Google), or different syntax (and then you have to learn another search engine who probably has worse results anyways).

(To) Google nowadays is so generalized as to mean "search the internet for something". That's a valuable skill no matter what your engine of choice is.

Incredibly simplistic and shallow reasoning.

Scaling anxiety disorders big time.

Here we go...

The future looks like people spending half their lives recording video and half of it watching the records. Recursion looks possible if you think of it!

All true. But we technophiles are better served by downplaying this aspect of technology's advance.

A large fraction of people are utterly freaked out by the idea that they'll be obligated to adopt new technology just to keep up.

Better to give many chances for people to discover on their own that they really want to use a new technology for positive reasons, rather than out of fear.

Many people will discover they don't. I have a mobile phone that is the first mobile phone I ever had (sucker! I never answered the damn thing anyway!); someone gave it to me because they were sick of not being able to phone me any time of the day or night. It's over a decade old and it spends most of the time switched off. If it does happen to ring, I generally ignore it. I live quite happily without carrying a phone or smartphone around with me; I suspect many people will quite happily live without being able to wear their google interface on their face.

yes of course. There are many people without a car, mobile phone or a pension. There are many ways of live that can be enjoyable. But everything come with a certain risk that can be minimized with technology.

>A large fraction of people are utterly freaked out by the idea that they'll be obligated to adopt new technology just to keep up.

To keep up with what? That's for b-level players that are caught on the rat-race.

Outside of this, you don't even need a mobile phone...

This man is a grotesque monster.

If I'm in front of my computer with Ghci, or whatever, open and you're trying to do the same thing on your Glasses, you'll lose. Oh wow, you can book a table, or a flight. I care why?

Can I think of things that tech lets me do quicker? Sure. But that's why I sit in front of a computer for a lot of the day and carry a tablet. Advantage to Glass is? Not even gonna be on the order of 30 seconds here....

Most of the advantages I can think of to do with Glass just have to do with having a rich/continuous supply of data - and that'll only really take off when you can store and cross reference it effectively.

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