. . . the video is a testament to modern technology’s extraordinary feats — not only instant communication across blocks or continents, but also an almost god-like access to information about the world around us. The Man in the Google Glasses can find his way effortlessly through the mazes of Manhattan; he can photograph anything he sees; he can make an impulse purchase from any corner of the world.
But the video also captures the sense of isolation that coexists with our technological mastery. The Man in the Google Glasses lives alone, in a drab, impersonal apartment. He meets a friend for coffee, but the video cuts away from this live interaction, leaping ahead to the moment when he snaps a photo of some “cool” graffiti and shares it online. He has a significant other, but she’s far enough away that when sunset arrives, he climbs up on a roof and shares it with her via video, while she grins from a window at the bottom of his field of vision.
He is, in other words, a characteristic 21st-century American, more electronically networked but more personally isolated than ever before.
Read the whole thing. Here’s the conclusion:
In this kind of world, the Man in the Google Glasses might feel like a king of infinite space. But he’d actually be inhabiting a comfortable, full-service cage.
Among the books referenced in Douthat’s piece are: