The disabled have been cyborgs, to use Zack Whitaker's newly minted progressive classification, since the mid-19th century, when they began to survive in significant numbers. Their culture precludes Luddites out of necessity. Even as the second decade of this anxious century moves along at its quantum pace, however, ableism is the implicit assumption of established media players. Once global citizens get past the phobia of biological mechanical and digital immersion, the possibilities are unlimited.
Unless you have a brain injury, or a conchlear implant. Smart phones already pose challenges for those who need tailored accommodation. Some people have big fingers. Some lack dexterity to text. Smart glasses may accelerate the pace of creating a new underclass. Mat Honan gets playful with primate social resistance to the insular nature of futurist virtual devices. In his evaluation, privileged as he was that Google allowed it, Glass was not as efficient a prototype so as to be the next cult status gadget.
These kinks will be ironed out, but then what? Marie Varenas, a retired medical secretary, doesn't believe the glasses will ease the stresses of the elderly, many of whom may not have the convenience of online access. "When you age your eyesight declines, some people get cataracts, and may not understand what they're looking at," she adds.
Tech giants are not intent on creating social Darwinism as H.G. Wells once envisioned it within a mechanical analogue world. They want to earn profits, become stable long term brands which earn loyalty, but efficacy can have consequential ruthlessness, a Gattaca effect even without the requisite genetic manipulation.