x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Terminator email

Email that can be read on a contact lens sounds like a science fiction nightmare.

The cyborg, sent from the future, has one mission and one mission only: to kill Sarah Connor. To hunt down its prey, the relentless machine is helped by streams of data that flash before its eyes once it's vision is locked on a target. Arnold Schwarzenegger's classic 1984 film Terminator seemed centuries ahead of its time.

But now, with every passing day, such realities are becoming more likely. As reported by the BBC, scientists are working on a prototype of a new generation of contact lenses that will be able to project images in front of the eyes. Reading floating texts and emails, or augmenting an individual's sight with computer-generated images, will become a reality for future generations.

We're sure that in the right context, such advances can be priceless: finding directions, dealing with memory loss, shopping lists. But elsewhere, the consequences concern us.

As if we're not already obsessed with our mobile phones and tablets, imagine the distractions that these new lenses would introduce. Do we really want people catching up on their emails and text messages while driving?

Many of us already have trouble unplugging from our smart phones and BlackBerrys. Do we really need to check our email with the blink of an eye? That's enough to make a mindless automaton out of anybody.