Remove your eyes before coming in

I took my parents on a virtual tour of London. It’s the second time I do it and I still can’t believe this actually works. We live in the future.

This is how I do it: using my phone, an HTC Desire, I call my parents via Skype and I enable video. This is over 3G, while walking the streets of London. I even boarded a bus and showed them how it works. It’s a lot of fun.

After showing them the Covent Garden market, I went into the second biggest Apple store and then it happened. A guard approached me and told me not to record video in the store, to what I replied that I wasn’t recording video. I told him I was Skyping. He looked at the phone and said “that’s video” to what I replied: “well, Skype can do video”. “But are you recording?” he kept asking. No, I’m not. I unplugged the headphones so he could say “Hi” to my parents. The security guard smiled and told me to go on.

First issue: he didn’t ask me whether my parents were recording or not and even I couldn’t know for sure. Now I’m wondering why is it wrong to record video but not to show a live stream to other people. I think the answer is rather simple: nobody thought of a live stream yet. The same way taking video recordings wasn’t forbidden anywhere at some point, live streaming is not forbidden yet.

I wish that instead of awkwardly holding my cellphone, I could be using a camera mounted on my head. There’s nothing new about that concept, but with products like Google Glass we might live in a world where almost everybody have an internet-connected, interactive, head-mounted camera quite soon. Are they going to ask everybody to remove their Google Glasses just in case they are recording or streaming?

What happens when something like the Google Glasses are embedded into my own glasses, the ones that correct my vision. Are they going to ask me to remove those? What happens when it is embedded directly into my eye. Are they going to ask me to remove my eyes too? Maybe they could say it’s my fault and treat me like people with full body tattoos. What if the interactive internet-connected device is the actual eyes that allow a blind person to see? Are they going to discriminate them too? Because that day is coming and the world is going to change.

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