Monthly Archives: April 2014

Million Hairs Club

This is my double page spread for the Future Of Money project. My idea was that somewhere in the future the majority of the human race have lost the ability to grow hair on their heads and they are bald. To compensate for the lack of a crowing glory, people have begun to wear wigs. And because of the scarcity of natural hair and people’s dissatisfaction with synthetic wigs, the value of real human hair has skyrocketed and it has overtaken paper money and coins and credit cards as the main form of trade and commerce.

Within the concept of hair currency itself, different hair colour and types have varying values with silky blond hair being the most highly sought after.  I wrote a short article set in this fictional universe.

MILLION HAIRS CLUB: THE RAPUNZELS OF THE WORLD

The human race has gone from keeping their wealth and money from the wallet and bank to wearing it on their heads. When you walk down the streets of every village, town or city in the world today you will see a mixture of people in brightly coloured synthetic wigs. Retro-fitted to their scalps with powerful electromagnets to prevent hair theft, each wig will have strands or thin locks of woven natural hair (most commonly coloured black) carefully secured into their weave. Through touch pad and genetic coding each strand of hair can only be carefully removed by it’s owner during a transaction. What transaction? Well hair has replaced money and gold as the method of payment for all goods and services now.

It’s been 47 years since the population of the world succumbed to Folicfailure, the drug that became a disease. Once known as the Fountain of Youth, it was hailed as the answer to eternal life, it instead transmuted into a disease that infected 96% of the entire population of the world. While it may have prolonged youth and vitality by an extra 10 years, the drug also caused every human who ingested it to drop every single strand of hair on their scalp. Soon it evolved into a infectious aerial disease, jumping from one person to the next until only 4% of the world’s population is able to produce hair.

The governments call them Growers, we call them the Rapunzels or Million Hair Clubbers. The elite pool of genetic lottery winners born with the genes naturally resistant to Folicfailure. Kept in a secret location and separate from the rest of the population to prevent any possibility of new infection. Herald as the wealthiest people on the planet, these members of the Million Hairs Club live in a utopian paradise where every need is met and provided ten fold. All they need to do is stay alive and grow healthy hair. We know almost nothing of the actual people who grow our wealth. Not even what they look like, only that the Rapunzels carry the planet’s wealth on their shoulders.  Literally.

With the world’s currency shifting from money to hair, humans have proven once and for all that they are at heart; narcissistic creatures.

Illustrated below is an artist interpretation of the most famous of Rapunzels; Kenneth Dollziwack.  As the only person in the world left with golden blond hair, a single strand of 20 metre long hair from his head is worth a three bedroom house and a luxury car.

MillionHairsClubIllustration(Online)The richest man in the world; Kenneth Dollziwack.

Online Journalism: Google Glass

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Google Glass (Image Source Influxis.com)

On 15th of April 2014, for a single day only and in a limited number, tech-enthusiastic American consumers had the opportunity to purchase Google Glass Explorer, Google’s prototype device, at the cost of USD$1,500 (£894).

This has been the first instance when Google offered its device for sale to anyone across the United States, previously, having been available only via special invitation through its exclusive Explorer Program of prototype testers.

But even though it has been regarded as a pioneer in the era of wearable communication technology on its first testing in 2012, Google Glass has been in the centre of pro and anti-technology debates with a growing movement firmly opposing the use of it.

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Google Glass (Image Source KnowYourMobile.com ).

Google Glass’ design, closely resembles a standard pair of eyeglasses which possesses a small optical display, shaped as a glass prism.

It is connected to the user’s smartphone via “Wi-Fi” or “Bluetooth” being designed for micro-interactions, via a touchpad that runs from the user’s temple to ear, or by “hands-free” voice command/actions.

But even though the device mirrors the abilities of many existing smartphones in the market today, it still possesses seven individual core functions.

Google Glass is able to record video, take photos, perform Web searches, navigate and get directions, send texts, make phone calls and instant message or video chat with contacts via Google Hangouts

Being able to be operated via voice actions, the device offers potential uses in the assistance of various types of clients.

Several conceptual uses have been proposed for Google Glass in education, emergency response and in healthcare.

For example, the Glass is being tested by educators, firefighters, police officers, doctors and surgeons among others.

One interesting example of its usefulness in healthcare is in Newcastle University.

Doctors at the university are trialling Glass to help patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

In collaboration with its users, the doctors have developed a programme that will remind patients to take their medication and to also swallow or speak up; behaviours that can prevent debilitating episodes of paralysis known as ‘freezing.’

From GPS to smartphones to personal computers and to the internet itself, the development of new computing technologies has almost always taken place exclusively in the realms of government, military and business.

So not everyone has praised Google’s more public approach into the exploration of more potential uses and usefulness of the device.

Several businesses have already begun pre-emptively banning it, a number of campaigns sprang, like “Stop the cyborgs” which encouraging businesses to ban Google Glass over concerns about surveillance and invasion of privacy, anti-surveillance group campaigns, and even a software subscription service called Anti-Glass.

The strongest backlash Glass received, has been from a social standpoint.

The rise of a derogatory nickname — “Glasshole” is one such example of the social stigma that has come to be attached to users of Glass.

To try and combat that way of thinking, Google has revealed its own Top 10 Google Glass Myths.

Concerns of social etiquette, electronic surveillance, invasion of privacy and other implications of misused have been prevalent in any discussion concerning Google Glass.

It also became a symbol of class division and gentrification.

Business Insider reporter Kyle Russell wrote about how “a mugger snatched his Google Glass off his face” and then smashed it into the ground while he was travelling through San Francisco’s Mission district.

Though initially confused at the scathing and negative reactions he had received in the wake of the incident, Russell was somewhat understanding of the feelings — writing that “anything associated with Google has come to represent gentrification in the city” thus acknowledging that he should have taken off his Glass.

Users rely heavily on broadcast technology, social media, mobile devices, video games and other innovations to enrich themselves whether in a business setting on in their personal lives.

Google or any company that is pushing wearable technology as evolutionary in the realm of communication technology have not yet effectively defined the utility of devices like smartwatches and heads-up displays, at least for general consumer use. Are they a necessity or a novelty?

 In the case of Google Glass, the use of the device can in fact, come across all too often as over gratuitous consumption.

With such a high price tag labelled onto a product that is technically still in development, experts and general consumers alike are questioning the logic behind the desire to purchase Google Glass Explorer.

For further information:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26987972

http://www.knowyourmobile.com/google/google-glass/21388/google-glass-release-date-features-and-price-ray-ban-oakley-commit-future

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/got-glass-get-out-where-are-we-supposed-to-use-googles-awesome-new-tool/#!FaAxO

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10752873/How-Google-Glass-is-helping-Parkinsons-sufferers.html

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/nypd-started-testing-google-glass-patrol-officers/#!FaAs1

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/anti-glass-movement/#!FaAwZ

 

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