You know how Google commands a fleet of camera-cars that drive around cities creating ‘street views’? This cumbersome process is only a suggestive stepping-stone.

In 7 years when every weirdo is wearing Google Glasses equipped with GPS, a complete pictorial map of the world will be steadily filled in. The uploaded views of 1,001 pedestrians in Bangkok will be aggregated by massive online databases and from your laptop in Illinois you’ll be able to tour Bangkok city streets and move your roving eye into restaurants, office buildings, and even some apartments, bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, refrigerators, the drawer of a mahogany desk. Any visible space shared by wearers of the magic glasses.

As this astonishing spectacle dawns/dons on us we will turn to various gurus to make sense of it all, and inevitably we will need to consult Mr. Borges’ short fiction about the civilization—striving fanatically for informational exactitude—that created a map of the empire the size of the empire. “On the Exactitude of Science” (1960):

Borges Map

Related: See also the White House’s new initiative to ‘map the human brain’.

Tanky Soundtrack: My Bloody Valentine, “Map Ref 41°N 93° W” (Wire cover)

p.s. in our looming future there will also be a strange new journalistic genre, wherein people will compose accounts of virtually-encountered cities, written from afar. It will be a hybrid of “The Parisian Prowler” and Jayson Blair style absentee-reportage. (Also, related: Instead of waiting for after-the-fact youtube videos, Washington Think Tanks will hire Google Glass stooges/fixers to attend protests, meetings, etc. in distant cities. [Through an earpiece] “OK, Anwar, do you see that guy on the left holding an anti-Ennahda poster? Can you casually go up to him and ask his opinion of the new IMF loan deal?”


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