Google Glass, Oculus Rift, 3D Printers…this is the time for huuuuge leaps and bounds in technology. The ultra-cool snazzy futuristic is coming to our very homes as our species evolves, and we’re living a cultural and technological (r)evolution right now. That’s great. w00t.
If you told 5 year old me that I’d be playing games in virtual reality, where I could be inside the game, my jaw would drop*. The gaping mouth would turn into a smile, and I’d ask breathlessly, “WHEN?!” When I was a kid, I was taken by my aunt to the now-closed Disney Quest in Chicago. There were virtual reality rides, a booth where you could make your own pop song**, make your own roller-coater…and it was all Disney. It was one of the best days of my life as a kid. I mean, I flew on a magic carpet in Aghraba, of course it was.
Today, I hear about the Oculus Rift and I am its hugest critic. I scoff at the low resolution. I remind everyone about the faux-motion sickness. I guffaw at the awkward, imperfect control. All in all, I find myself empty of the fire that inhabited my child’s mind. And it’s not just about virtual reality, oh no, I find a lack of excitement for any and all new technology.
Sure, the world and my age have made me cynical – I am, after all, reaching a quarter century. But, fellow nerds my age engage in orgies of delight over what’s new. I have had several gazes of expectation thrown my way, and I always give a disappointing shrug back with a “sorry guys, nothing here” look. I’m beginning to feel sorry, but I just don’t feel it.
Could it be that I’ve merely grown comfortable with the tech that I have? That I have become the old “get offa my lawn” man now that my iPhone can tell me where I am? Some tech has started to seem frivolous, even problematic. There are times when I want to scream things, like “GOOGLE GLASS WILL RECORD EVERYTHING, DON’T YOU SEE THE PROBLEM?!” or “3D PRINTERS GIVE OFF LIFE-THREATENING FUMES, DON’T YOU CARE?!” But everyone acknowledges these, like they acknowledge that Bruce Willis is basically the same character in all movies, but they like him anyway***.
It dawned on me a couple of days ago as I was scratching a scab that maybe their eagerness about “cool new stuff” was more just…more important than criticism. Maybe my friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and random denizens of the internet were hoping those issues would be ironed out somehow by developers later. It’s not a bad way to think – just not mine.
Perhaps, they have a huge advantage over me – they have faith. After all, tech doesn’t end at the concept or the first distribution. I mean, the Oculus Rift has already improved its resolution by far****, and all new tech goes through several iterations. Don’t we always joke about how when you finally afford that phone you’ve always wanted, they’ve come out with a new model?
I have to admit that the other thing that excited nerds have that I don’t, is, er, excitement. I don’t get enthusiastic*****. To be honest, I was a stoic, grumpy little kid, preferring books and my own company. Perhaps my inability to squee has grown from that. In any case, I won’t discount new tech, but I’ll always be careful about it. At least my friends will know they can always hear a different, albeit harshly realistic, side opinion from me.
* Well, I don’t actually know exaaactly what I would say, but come on, if anyone would be close to the truth, it’d be, uh, me.
** YES, I still have it and it is the CHEESIEST THING EVER. OH my GOD.
*** Me included, Willis is awesome.
**** of course, this leaves me with sweet, sweet Schadenfreude as I see my nerdy comrades sigh and admit they blew all their money on the Kickstarter edition…bwahahaha!
*****At least, not in a happy way.
Khadeja is best described as an angry caveman whose soul was transported into the body of an “alternative” third culture kid; making said caveman even angrier. She is a warrior prepared to defend her second home, the internet, from offensive jerks. When she isn’t writing, she is an aspiring professional voice actor whose work includes the upcoming Codename Cygnus — and hopefully much more.