Sci-Fi novel predicting Google Glass
July 9, 2013 8:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to remember the name and author fo a sci-fi novel that predicted the idea of Google glasses and their impact on society. I can clearly remember one of the characters, a youung person, complaining that all these old people had these glasses that recorded everything that happened around them and could send that data directly to the police. It was kind of an Orwellian Big Brother feel to society. You were always being watched, recorded, reported, etc. I was reminded again about this after reading an article on NPR about the first police arrest recorded on Google Glass. Does anyone else remember this book or the author? Thanks in advance for the help.
posted by corwalch to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Are you thinking of Earth by David Brin?
posted by XMLicious at 8:56 AM on July 9, 2013 [5 favorites] ?
posted by Jacen at 8:57 AM on July 9, 2013

There's a wiki that tracks which predictions Brin made in Earth have borne out, with an entry on "eyeglass cams".
posted by XMLicious at 9:01 AM on July 9, 2013

Vernor Vinge, "Fast Times at Fairmont High" which is related to his novel Rainbows End?
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:06 AM on July 9, 2013

The idea of wearable / ambient recording devices and computers is a common trope in sci-fi. For me the touchstone is Gargoyles in Snow Crash (1992).

It's not fiction, but it's worth noting that several of the Google Glass team are former members of the MIT Media Lab Wearable computing group. They were using things similar to Glass as early as 1996.
posted by Nelson at 9:10 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Could it be Holy Fire (1996), by Bruce Sterling?

I don't remember the particular thing you are describing, but Holy Fire includes both 1) Augmented Reality and 2) "gerontocracy," rule by old people.

And here is an "AR Reading List" that has some other possible candidates.
posted by grobstein at 9:40 AM on July 9, 2013

David Brin also wrote Existence, published last year, where similar technology (cameras everywhere, but very often privately owned) created a system of ubiquitous sousveillance. Government surveillance still exists tremendously, but the US is contrasted with China in the novel; US private cameras owners can voluntarily give or sell information to interested parties, while in China, the state has access upon demand.

There's also a ton of Augmented Reality in this book.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:08 AM on July 9, 2013

Seconding Bruce Sterling's Holy Fire.
posted by slkinsey at 10:32 AM on July 9, 2013

I was just thinking about a book like this (possibly the same one; I also cannot remember the name). In it, there was a legal radius around people that you could not encroach upon, but you could verbally harras people from just outside that radius all you wanted.

If it's the same book, and if I remember correctly, the old timers enjoyed the safety that they got with the development of always-on recording devices, but then the youngsters grew up with it and resented them. Serious crime went down, but behavior also was restricted.
posted by Phredward at 12:02 PM on July 9, 2013

Halting State by Mefi's own cstross posits a Google Glass type technology and how it might be used by law enforcement.

Worth a read even if it's not the one you're thinking of.
posted by the latin mouse at 1:20 PM on July 9, 2013

For ubiquitous surveillance by elderly people wearing networked videocameras, you're probably thinking of Earth

While there have been wearable heads-up displays in science fiction going back a long ways (Starship Troopers included that in 1959), the earliest really really Google-glassish thing I can think of is Bruce Sterling's spex in 1996's Deep Eddy. (Though Chairman Bruce demurs.)
posted by Zed at 3:40 PM on July 9, 2013

Response by poster: Yes, it was David Brin's Earth. Thanks for jogging my memory. And I will def check out the other titles mentioned.
posted by corwalch at 6:12 PM on July 9, 2013

Stross' Rule 34 uses this feature casually, believably, and to good effect.

Also, I liked the Scottish hue.
posted by mule98J at 9:10 PM on July 9, 2013

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