So just how enthusiastic are you about the imminent arrival of Google Glass? Do you see it as a breakthrough in wearable tech or a cyber intrusion? An ingenious personal tool, or an infernal invasion of privacy? Personally I was in the skeptical-to-hostile category when the snake-hipped Google marketeer approached me in San Francisco. Then I had a go. It’s comfortable, clever and yes, I am ashamed to admit it, rather cool. With a tap of my right finger I could swipe screen and with an bit of trial and error managed to get Glass (yes we were on first name terms from the start…) to respond to my voice commands. At first it didn’t seem to recognise the difference between “Glass, find the office” and “Glass, phone the office – but maybe that’s the British accent.
So, not as threatening as I feared. But not as life-enhancing as they claim. And that, for me, is the key point. Aren’t we are already sufficiently sealed off from daily reality without spending more time locked in our own virtual bubbles? Rather than interrogating the Cloud to find out the price of a book or the nearest TexMex cafe, couldn’t we just stop another human being and ask? Like, totally crazy idea, I know…
But before anyone shouts “technophobe” I want to say I am real fan of how technology is connecting people in the workplace. Especially when it comes to learning. Where isolated e-Learning seems to have run its course, social learning is on the up. Even in the more competitive corporate ecosystems – and I work in a few – the basic human desire to pass on what you learn to others is still very strong. And technology is helping. Innovations like the Tin Can API turn every net surfer into a knowledge hunter-gatherer able to share anything useful with an entire community at the tap of a mousepad.
Yes, technological ‘friends’ like Glass can unquestionably help us learn. Just as long as we remember the most effective teaching we can get is still probably person to person.
We’re presenting our newly upgraded social learning platform (Real Meetings) at the CIPD Learning & Development Show at London’s Olympia 30 April 30 – 1 May. I will also be doing a talk about next generation learning with Charles Gould, CEO of Brightwave at 1.00pm on Wednesday 30th April. Please come and say hello. We’ll be on stand 300 and would love to talk in a low tech, face to face way.