Google has recently revealed a prototype of high-tech glasses. Project Glass, as it’s called, looks like a pair of glasses, except the lenses (actually, an empty space) are miniature screens. As one walks, electronic data, like weather forecasts and news, pop up on the side of the screen; even data about the person you are speaking to can be pulled up via voice command.
Project Glass is yet another example of how technology changes our lives for better and for worse. It will make life simpler and so much more fun; yet at the same time, we become increasingly isolated from each other. Technology has had an isolating effect on our communities; from radio and television, which kept people at home instead of heading out to theatres and shows, to the internet, which has people texting instead of talking to each other, advances in technology has made social interactions less common and less personal. And now Project Glass comes along, and even when we see people face to face, we won’t really see them; we’ll be looking at the weather instead!
Yes, there’s an unprecedented amount of social connection going on today; one can be in touch with thousands of Facebook friends and Twitter follower with the push of a button. However, the connections are superficial, and are all about information rather than companionship. The Bible makes it clear that connecting hearts is fundamentally a face to face experience (Proverbs 27:19). And there’s no question, sitting together as companions, with or without words, is critical to the friendship experience (Psalms 133:1).
This loss of personal connection also changes our connection to God. Jewish thinkers as different as R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi to Martin Buber have all made it clear that our relationship with God is founded on our relationship with our fellow man. The road to God is built on human friendship; and if Google Glasses obscure our ability to see our fellow man, they will certainly disconnect us from God as well.