Fiction: Google Glass
An augmented reality system that will give users the full range of activities performed with a smart phone — without the smart phone. On top of your field of vision, you get icons, alerts, directional arrows, and other visual cues that inform, warn, or beg response.
I nestled into Mama’s lap. The fabric of her dress was soft, comforting. Together, we looked down at the crowd. Jostling, sipping.
The first pick-up truck came by. In its bed, they’d painted a white square, filled in with black squares, like tiny Tetris pieces. Together, the sea of people moved and danced and sang, their headpieces clinging desperately to their faces. Parents waved and the children screamed.
Another truck, then another. They kept going by. The crowd roared, some cowered, women grabbed for unseen hats, men hollered for unseen beads. Suddenly everybody looked up, so that Mama and I could make out their eyestrips, and they pointed and laughed. I thought they were laughing at us, but then the laughter turned to screams of fear and delight as whatever specter they saw flew all too close to their outstretched arms.
I begged Mama to let me go down and see. She smiled wanely, holding me close in that bitter cold, and said there was nothing for us to see. I demanded anyway, so she bundled me up and down we went.
On the street, I asked Mama why I couldn’t see what everyone was laughing at. A man overheard me. He was ugly, a nose far too big for his face, and his suit was torn. But he smiled at Mama with his crooked teeth and took off his headset and handed it to me. Try this, he said.
It was too big and covered most of my face. But just like that, the world exploded into light. A barrage of fireworks, creatures swooping in and out of them, dancing stars atop the buildings. There were no pick-ups here. Only singing mountains and fighter planes. Then an enormous, creaking pirate ship, shedding water on us as it passed.
I looked down and saw that I was still dry, but that I was wearing bright multicolored dress of yellows and pinks. I looked around, and the drab grey of the crowd had been replaced with the regalia of a masquerade ball, with sunlight and brilliant suits accompanying still brighter dresses.
I found Mama’s face, a world away. Next to her stood a shining knight. And for a moment, I gave in, and everything was good. But Mama’s tearing eyes didn’t lie, and I ripped off the set and gave it back to the ugly man, then led her inside and away.
Part of my ongoing startup dystopia series. Previous installments here.
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