There is a major consumer technology fair that just wrapped up in Vegas. Watching the stream of photos come in via all the major social networks was an interesting way to vicariously experience all the excitement. However, it would have been nothing compared to what I had already experienced when I brought a new technology to Russia this past summer.
As a Google Glass explorer, I was excited to capture Russian life and its citizens in a new and unobstructed way. Here in the US, people are jaded and yet afraid of Glass and related technologies as we slowly adapt and accept wearables. Yes, its a bit strange to have a wearable on your face, but people forget that its the technology thats the exciting part. After hearing snickers and an remarks form my US friends, I was apprehensive about the treatment I would receive in Russia. Needless to say, I was shocked and pleasantly surprised.
Russians already knew of Glass and were thrilled to see one in person and try it out. I let anyone who asked play with the device and experience it for themselves. They were excited about Glass, but I think it was bigger than that. They're hungry for change, technology and progress. Young Russians adopt new technology with the same glee and excitement that I saw on their faces when they tried on my Glass and swiftly snapped selfies with their smartphones.
However, the most memorable experience came when I took Glass to my grandma's farmhouse (also called dacha) which is 3 hours outside of Moscow. My grandma is 83 years old. She invited a group of her friends to sit with us at dinner where I took out Glass to record our interactions. Grandma fearlessly put Glass on her face and was smiling and laughing when the small screen came alive to play back the Russian songs we had recorded ourselves singing earlier. Her bright blue eyes sparkled as they matched the bright blue of the device, a color I had picked to match my own blue eyes. What she said next will stay with me forever. When the laughter finally subsided she said, "I cannot believe I lived long enough to see something like this."
I cannot believe I lived long enough to see something like this.
This statement is why I believe technology has the power to make lives better. This statement reaffirms why I gave up everything (including my savings) and went to grad school and became a UX designer. This statement is why I do what I do. When I saw my grandma's awe at technology and how far we have come in such as short amount of time, I could only hope that when I'm 83 there is something what would make me excited enough to say, I cannot believe I lived long enough to see something like this.
Week 1 of 52 - Story a Week in 2014