Beyond Google Glass: 2034

Summary:What happens if we progress to a culture dominated by augmented reality and lifelogging?

Late April, 2034.

In decades past, they had called it spring. But at 95+ degrees outside of Eva Konsumer's tiny studio apartment in downtown Miami, it sure felt like summer. In fact, Eva could not recall during her 25-year-old life when it wasn't blazing hot in April in Miami.

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Image: Google

Unless there was a compelling reason to do so, these days, it was best to stay indoors where the concrete block construction and the industrial air conditioning systems could regulate temperature to a much more hospitable level. And down in South Florida, with the heavy sun, the UV alone from the hole in the Earth's ozone layer could cook you. Skin cancer city.

Like many of the new, ultra-dense apartment buildings in Miami, Eva's small studio had no windows, but she could see everything going on outside if she wanted,in completely polarized, sun-filtered ultradef crispness.

Of course, for a measly $8,000 a month, especially as a grad student studying environmental law at the University of Miami, you couldn't expect an apartment that was right on the beach. But it's not like anyone really cared about having an ocean view anymore because you could have an outside view of anything you wanted.

Hong Kong Harbor or New York City's Times Square at night. Tokyo's Roppongi district. Cairo. The International Moonbase at Tycho. Or the view outside the colony dome at Curiosity Station on Mars.

Like many young residents of Miami, Eva chose to live in a sparsely furnished flat. Its four walls and all of its cabinets were painted absolute "augwhite", with no hangings of any sort to adorn them. Lighting was an array of cool white dimmable OLEDs, integrated into the ceiling and corners.

She had her roll out bed/couch, her coffee table, her comfy chairs and stools for the breakfast bar in the kitchenette. And that was more than enough for any single girl going to school. More than enough for anyone, really.

She preferred to do most of her work on the comfy chair, unless it was one of those few times a month she had to drag herself to campus and actually meet her professors and fellow students for planned teaming events.

The University of Miami was a bit traditional when it came to their 80/20 telecommuting rules. Her best friend telepresences from Miami to MIT, and they don't have such policies.

Uncle Josef and Aunt Mindy felt all of this was a bit odd when they came to visit from New Jersey last month. They didn't understand the all-white, decor-free apartment. They didn't understand why she only went out to see her friends.

They even offered to give her some of Eva's grandmother's paintings to "lighten the place up", but what would she do with them? She could just simply have the Augplant display them anytime she felt like it since they were imaged in 32K so long ago.

She loved Uncle Josef and Aunt Mindy, even with their old-fashioned notions of how to live. They absolutely resisted getting Augplants when they became commercially avaliable about 10 years ago, instead choosing to stick with those antiquated modular tablet and smartphone systems, which few folks outside of senior citizens or children under the age of 13 use anymore.

And those huge 100-inch IGZO screens that hung on their walls in their home in New Jersey. The old cloud ThinTerms with flat panel monitors on... Desks. My God, what a waste of energy. How ungreen. How unproductive.

Of course, even if they wanted an Augplant or an AR monacle (what was that once called, Google Glass? The kind she saw in old vids?), they both would need to get corrective eye surgery as well to fix their macular degeneration, and sharpen or even replace their lenses.

Most old folks didn't do that. Not unless you were like, I dunno, someone like Mark Zuckerberg. Who had his done a while ago.

Eva's parents chose to elminate eyesight problems, among a number of other issues, from her genome before she was born. On her 13th birthday, her mom brought her to the local Gammazoft Augmentation Implantology clinic.

Eva remembered being scared of the operation, but her mom assured her everything would be ok, and that she needed this in order "to have an advantage". They gave her a general anesthetic and she went to sleep.

It was a long time ago, but she remembered waking up an hour or so later in a recovery bed. The nurse was sitting down on a chair looking over her. She had an itchy pain on the back of her head, and there was some hair missing when she felt back there. 

Why remember though? She could see it as if it had just happened moments ago.

"Personal Lifelog, playback, primary wall display. Time index zero plus five seconds."

"Playback: September 15, 2022. Logstart."

The large "window" in her apartment that was showing a live 34th-floor view of downtown Miami faded into a video playback of the moment she first started lifelogging. The day she got her augplant. 

The video began with the nice Cuban nurse. She was pudgier than she remembered. Butch, even. What was her name?

"Don't worry sweetie, it will grow back. The cut will heal quickly; we used a cauterizing laser and a skin growth accelerant to seal it. Now, I want you to quietly say the word 'display'." 

"Display."

"Gammazoft Augplant OS 9.3.2. Lifelogging enabled," is what Eva heard. Inside her head.

Then the world came to life. Everything had a label. From here on, there were answers to every question. 

She looked up at the nurse. Above her head were all sorts of statistical details. Elizabeth Hernandez, RN, age 36, graduate of the NOVA University of South Florida Nursing School with a specialization in Augmented Reality Implantology. 500 level 1 SocMed connections, Lifebook account @augnurselizzyh. Wife Janet Hernandez, age 34, Miami-Dade County director of product marketing at Gammazoft.

The list scrolled on and on. A dizzying array of information, just from one person.

There was also an icon for "Lifelog Request" on her chest. Eva pointed to thin air and touched the icon. The nurse smiled.

"Oh no, hija, there's a lot of patient confidental material in that. I can't even show Janet those things. But if you'd like, I can show you how we did your procedure. My life is boring anyway. There's so many good ones you can follow. Just ask her. Do you like her default name? Auggy?"

"Yes, I think."

"Well, you can change it anytime you like. She can tell you and show you all sorts of things, too. Do you see that wall over there?"

"Umm, yeah, it's white."

"Well, it doesn't have to stay that way. Reach out and touch it."

An interface appeared in thin air. It was kind of like the one she had on her tablet, but it had many more options than just email, social networking, and apps. And it was pre-configured with her cloud profile. She could see her friends in there. 

"Where's mom?" Eva said.

"She's in the waiting room shopping. Or logwatching. Why don't you see? Say, logwatch livestream Susan Konsumer, alias mom."

Eva said the words. It was like magic.

"Logshare enabled, Konsumer, Susan G, Newalias Mom, livestream," is what she heard. Then she saw ... She was her mom.

She was now sitting on the couch with a large display floating in front of her. It was the Gammazoft product catalog, a list of groceries. She could see her mother's hands flipping through the meat section. And then she started talking in her head.

"I'm shopping, honey. But see, you can get to me anytime you want. Your dad wants steak this weekend, so we'll have to go pick up the food at the depot tonight instead of Prime delivery."

"Wait, you said anytime? What about when you and dad are ... Ew! Gross!"

Susan laughed. Eva could almost sense her turning red. If she looked at the vital signs widget, she would have probably noticed a momentary jump in galvanic skin response and blood pressure.

"I have logshare set to 'private' for that, silly. Only your dad can see it."

"Oh. But where does it all go?"

"The family Gammazoft logstore account. We have 300 petabytes per year, and we currently pay for 10 year extended vaulting."

"So do I share with you, then?"

"I've already asked the nurse for your log to be shared with me and dad. If you want to share with your older brother and sister, that's up to you. But I have yours set for parental control with us until you are 18. What you do after you're an adult is your own business."

"So what about other people's logs?"

"If they've set them to public, or if they grant you access, you can review any kind you want. But your father and I are going to get an alert if the logcontent is explicit. You should probably only browse stuff that is age appropriate for you anyway. Like vids and your schoolwork.

And we're going to review your privacy settings until you understand how it works. Remember what happened with your sister's best friend? Everyone in her extended circles got to see what happened on that terrible date of hers. That guy was a complete creep. Tens of thousands of people saw the entire thing go down on Lifebook. Very embarrassing for her."

"Yeah, everyone in school was talking about that. So I can get Jody Bieber's lifelog?"

"Only chapter excerpts. He heavily edits it, and he'll make you pay for the extended material. And I'm going to get a bill for things like that, so I'm going to have to authorize your purchases. There's plenty of free lifelogs though, because they get monetized through Gammazoft's advertising network."

"Can I turn off the monetization? I see a lot of ads in front of you. What's this Erectile Enhancement-on-Demand implant it says that dad should get? And it says his testosterone levels are too low. What is that, anyway?"

Susan sighed. Kids.

"There's specific services we've subscribed to in order to reduce monetization exposure, but eventually, you'll tune out a lot of the ads. It keeps costs down to have them. When I'm driving, the augplant handles information presentation to reduce distraction. When you get your learner's permit, you'll have this as well."

"So, the logs... You have access to mine."

"Yes, for your protection. I want to make sure you're not getting into trouble."

"What about when I'm in the bathroom?"

"I'll know when you're in there and I won't look, obviously. Who wants to see that?"

"Besides you and dad ... and whoever else I give it to ... who else can see my logs?"

"Law enforcement, and the government if they feel it is warranted. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) expansion act of 2016 extended its access to lifelogs. You'll learn those things when you get moved to a class with other augplanted children soon...

"And of course, Gammazoft systems perform analytics on your logs and other metadata to give you trend analysis, which, of course, is for your benefit. Your apps and services will have the ability to interact with those reports. It's a great tool to go over what you might not remember, or not even notice on a day-to-day basis. Auggy will tell you many things that you should know."

"This is a lot of stuff, mom."

"I know sweetie. But you'll be happier. You don't want to be like the notaugs. Look how difficult life is for them." 

"Can we go home now, mom? I'm tired."

"You can always go home, now that you're an aug, sweetie."

"Personal lifelog, halt playback."

Topics: Emerging Tech, Cloud, Google, Hardware

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet is a technologist with over two decades of experience with integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer... Full Bio

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