Friday, May 17, 2013

How Damaging Will Google Glass be to Human Communication?

Google Glass is supposed to be the top-notch futuristic way to communicate in the land of tomorrow. It allows you to carry out many functions that are arguably very useful; such as a built-in GPS to help you get around, Google search everywhere, the ability to make calls and texts hands-free, and the ability to capture every moment you desire in the form of pictures or video.

Folks, I think this is going to be a very bad thing for humans... especially with my generation. We grew up with these technologies, and they have been a part of us since the get-go. We have always had a lot of information available to us instantly, and the amount of information we are expected to know by the end of high school is crazy to even think about. Sure, we're smart. But we simply aren't able to keep focused on multiple tasks at hand. None of us are. And what is even more problematic is the reality that we all have very short attention spans. We are all very easily distracted. It isn't our faults, exactly... we were raised this way after all. But the fact remains, something like Google Glass is probably nothing but bad for society.

I understand that there are many positive aspects to Google Glass. I definitely want my own pair. I can't even imagine how many amazing things I will be able to do once I have one in my hands. But the problem remains- Google Glass is going to be a 24/7 distraction on every persons face. Everyone you know will buy one of these. Just like they did a smartphone. It isn't the accessory many of us are expecting it to be. It's going to be instead a whole new category of device by itself. And if Google is anywhere close to its goals, this device will be able to replace any and all other computing devices you have on the go with you.

We don't know how damaging Glass will be to human communication yet. We can only predict. But I have to say, if we already have issues multitasking and focusing with our cellphones, what the hell do people think will happen with Glass? It is ALWAYS there. ALWAYS active. ALWAYS on and ALWAYS on your face. You can't put Google Glass away easily. Especially not if Glass is built into optical lenses like Google intends.

Then comes the issue of privacy. Will people go crazy recording and taking pictures of every thing they see? Google doesn't think it will be an issue. One recent Verge article delved into this issue, quoting Google Glass Project Developer Steve Lee:
"Privacy was top of mind as we designed the product... you'll know when someone with Glass is paying attention to you," Lee said. "If you're looking at Glass, you're looking up."

Google claims that these privacy issues will simply merge into issues of common courtesy, that if someone stares at you and they're wearing glass, you'll know that they're either being a creep and staring at you or being a mega creep and recording the shit out of your face. Either way, Google thinks you'll know when it's appropriate to get "the hell out of there."

This really doesn't seem like enough. Google should find a more obvious way to allow someone to record them. Perhaps one of the voice commands we have all seen in recent released demos of the product. Either way, we'll see what happens with Glass and privacy. As of right now, the device is extremely hackable and easy to load up with experimental apps by Explorers. Whether or not someone will find an extra-special way to be creepy is up to them.

All in all, I'm not sure how I feel about Google Glass. I'm not sure this is the type of progression we need. I just really hope that we don't turn into the technologically-dependent creatures depicted in Disney-Pixar's Wall-E.

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