Every year the Consumer Electronics Show reminds me of how much I am not an early adopter. Take one of this year's big trends (please): The boom in wearable devices.
Sorry, but it's hard to believe that all that many people want to talk into their wristwatches aka Dick Tracy, rather than into a headset or the phone itself; or that people who don't have to wear glasses want to wear glasses so they can see the Internet every walking and waking minute.
Sure we have the technology -- we have the technology to put a computer on your wrist, or on your face, or to sew it into your dress for that matter.
But do we need to have it? Isn't technology, as glorious as it can be, already fairly tightly wound around our daily lives with tablets and smartphones that we check 20 times an hour? Do we really have to wear it?
Look, I'm not out to throw progress into reverse. I'm not a Luddite pining for the days we had to actually mail letters to each other, though every now and then a postal letter is nice. In fact, I'm cool to wearables precisely because I like the way the digital revolution has changed my life. In fact, I'm enthralled. In fact, I'm hooked.
I already pull my smartphone out of my pocket dozens of times a day, sometimes unconsciously, holding it and wondering: What was it I wanted to look up? And for good measure, I think of something: check email, sports scores, the weather (even when I'm outside). Honestly, I'm not sure I want all that to be any easier than it already is.
Even tech blogger Robert Scoble, an early adopter first class, knows what I mean. He recently posted on his Google (GOOG)+ page an analysis with the headline, "Scoble says Google Glass is Doomed," which, as you can imagine, caused the Earth to wobble off its axis. This was the guy after all who seems to have had Google Glass surgically attached; a guy who published a photograph of himself in the shower donning GG.
Never mind that what he meant was that Glass was not going to hit it big in 2014 -- but maybe a few years down the road. One of very many reasons he gave was that after talking to hundreds of people he sensed a fear that Glass would be running them more than they'd be running Glass.
"I think people are scared of their own addiction," he says. "They're like, 'Oh, this is like jumping up a drug. We went from marijuana to meth.' "
Tech writer Nicholas Carr has been watching how gateway technologies lead to the hard stuff for years. His book "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains" is a deep dive into how the digital revolution is changing the way we read, think, relate to each other and how are brains are wired. (The book is one of the selections for the 2014 edition of Silicon Valley Reads, a weeks-long community reading program that kicks off this month.)
"If wearables become popular, and that remains to be seen," Carr says, "it would tend to exaggerate all of the effects that we've seen as we've made computers more portable and more available. I think it would lead us to be more distracted more of the time, simply because it's there all the time."
Just what we need, right?
I know what you're thinking: If wearables actually begin to drive us to further distraction, wouldn't we just stop using them? Apparently not. Adopting a new, improved digital technology is a lot like throwing in with the Mafia. Once you're in, you don't get out.
"The impetus behind wearable devices seems to be the assumption that we all want to spend more time looking at a computer screen," Carr says. "I think if you ask most people, they would give the opposite opinion."
The sad fact is that we can't help ourselves.
And so, while there are plenty of skeptics, it seems that broad adoption of wearable computers is only a matter of time. Scoble, for instance, looks at Google Glass today and gets nostalgic for the Apple (AAPL) II, Apple's first mass-market computer.
"It feels a lot like the Apple II," Scoble says. "When the Apple II came out, it was extremely expensive. It didn't have a floppy drive. We all knew it was the future and it was very exciting for early-adopter types. But the average person couldn't get any value out of it in 1977."
But along came a floppy drive and new programs and better software and ultimately a PC revolution that put a computer in the vast majority of U.S. homes.
"The same thing is going to happen with Google Glass," Scoble says. "The promise of the thing is really great."
And he's probably right. Some day we'll all be colliding with each other at Safeway as we talk into our wrists and scan the coupon sites floating ghost-like before us in the frozen food aisle.
Meantime, I'll leave all that for the early adopters as I brace for the coming revolution.
Contact Mike Cassidy at email@example.com or 408-920-5536. Follow him at Twitter.com/mikecassidy.