The 1995 movie Strange Days was about the distant, high-tech future that would bring amazing and dark technology to our world in ... the year 2000. Yeah. If you can get past that part, the film could be seen as fairly prescient.
The main character (played by Ralph Fiennes) is a space-age drug dealer who peddles software for your virtual reality gear. You know, so you can "jack in" and "wire trip."
Don't laugh. We're nearly 14 years past the dawn of the millennium, but we now now have virtual reality headgear. It's called Google Glass. And with it you can virtually trip all day watching porn or whatever else you like, if you so desire. And that, says a Southern California researcher, could be addictive indeed:
Andrew Doan, San Diego-based director of addictions and resilience research for at he U.S. Navy's Substance Abuse and Recovery Program (SARP), recently authored a case study on Google Glass addiction.
The paper, published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, focused on a man who had come to SARP for treatment of his alcoholism. Doan says he recognized the patient's "internet addiction disorder." According to a summary of his case study:
... The patient exhibited significant frustration and irritability related to not being able to use his Google Glass™. The patient exhibited a notable, nearly involuntary movement of the right hand up to his temple area and tapping it with his forefinger. He reported that if he had been prevented from wearing the device while at work, he would become extremely irritable and argumentative.
Doan, an M.D., told us he believes the man was addicted to Google Glass.
"If you wear it 24/7, you can abuse it," he said. "People use it to escape, to be their natural antidepressant."
The researcher argues that wearing Google Glass to watch porn or surf the web can spark the same kind of physiological responses in your body that some drugs can illicit.
"You get a rush," he said, " ... a neuroendocrinee rush. That's why I believe these tech devices can be like digital drugs. If it causes neuroendocrinee arousal it can be abused."
The subject of his case study wore Google Glass as many as 18 hours a day and complained that he sometimes grew angry when he took it off to wash or sleep, according to the research paper.
"Google glass is not bad," Doan said. "It's how you use it."
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The 31-year-old subject was required to go cold turkey with alcohol and Google Glass for 35 days. The man's withdrawal points to addiction, but the bible of mental disorders, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, has yet to recognize internet addiction disorder.
"It will happen," Doan said. "It's clearly something warrants further study."
Until then, keep your Glass clean. Or not.