Why aren’t people freaking out about glasses that watch everything you do, all the time?


Evan Spiegel wants to record your memories, and everyone seems fine with that.

What if you had the ability to record everything you see, so you can see it again later, whenever you want?

If you’re Snap/Snapchat, that sounds like a really great idea — it’s the premise behind the company’s $130 Spectacles.

“Imagine one of your favorite memories,” Snap says in its rollout announcement. “What if you could go back and see that memory the way you experienced it?”

Another take: That sounds like a nightmare!

You can see how that one plays out courtesy of “Black Mirror,” the British series that updates “The Twilight Zone” with technological twists. The everything-you-can-see-you-can-see-again idea is the basis for “The Entire History of You,” the series’ third episode.

I think it’s my favorite of the bunch, and if you haven’t watched it on Netflix yet, I highly recommend it. (The entire episode also appears to have been on YouTube for more than a year. How does that work?)

You can get a sense of it here:

None of which is to say that Spectacles = dystopia. They sound pretty cool! I told my 6-year-old son about them, and he definitely wants a pair.

But it is interesting to see that in hot-take/first-blush land, no one seems particularly worried about the consequences of omnipresent, wearable video recorders.

Are they cool enough for Twitter users? That’s up for debate. Are they a problem for humanity? No one seems to think so.

I can hazard a couple guesses about why that may be.

One is that we’ve been headed this way for a while. You may not use a GoPro, but you get why someone might. Your local police department may already be equipping its officers with bodycams (even if they don’t always turn them on). And while Google famously failed when it introduced its Glass headsets in 2013, it still helped normalize the idea.

Another is that Snap/Snapchat has a lot more freedom to play around with ideas like this than other brands might have. Snapchat’s core messaging product has already established it as a company that makes things that are both confusing and cool.

So even if you think Spectacles are a terrible idea, you might wait to be proven right before you say so.

And at the same time, Snap still seems like a novelty to lots of people. Sure, it may command enormous media attention, and it could do a billion dollars in revenue next year, en route to an IPO.

But Snap still doesn’t generate the omnipresent fear/awe/respect that tech giants like Facebook, Apple and Google command. If any one of those companies came out with Spectacles, I bet you’d see a very different response.

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