Google Glass

I find the Google Glass technology absolutely mind-blowing. Technology is really being integrated into our daily lives, it is now something that we can wear on ourselves as eyeglasses! It can be literally in your face now. I wonder how technology like this could change us; it is a means to an end, but it is overwhelming to think about this kind of means when I feel like I have still not confidently answered the question “what is the end of my humanness?” To me, it seems like technology like this assumes several things about us as human beings. It assumes that: communication between people is optimal if it is as efficient as possible, instantaneously sent and received and therefore that we always (at every moment of the day) have to know how what to respond in our text messages, phone calls, emails, etc. It also assumes that an efficient life entails always being reachable by people and always being ready to socialize with  peers, co-workers, family, and so on. This assumptions, however, directly conflict with the right to privacy and the pursuit of happiness. It has begun defining happiness for us. What if I need some time to process the meaning of a text message that I just received. What about the value of being alone? Is this going to be lost with technology like this because of the rate of communication that the rest of the world will operate at? Am I behind (on something…) in my life if I don’t buy these glasses, while everyone else is communicating on this existential or experience-based technology?

According to this  article in the New York Times, the technology has been banned in several different states for safety reasons (on par with “texting and driving” laws) and also for privacy reasons. “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place,” said Eric Schmidt,  Google’s chief executive in 2009, according to the article. This comment is evidence, to me, of the repetition of a more extreme and intrusive 1950s Red-Scare in American politics. “Asocial people will be able to find a way to do asocial things with this technology, but on average people like to maintain the social contract,” Mr. Starner (a pioneer of wearable computing who is a technical adviser to the Glass team) said.

According to this article on wordpress, the implications of technology like this is much more complex than what may first meet the eye, pun intended! “…what if computers were able to learn from us to the point  they could instantly draw on every interaction we’ve ever had online? … You’re constantly logged into Facebook and every person you’ve seen on the street and in the bar is identified along with everyone in their social networks. On your left is a woman you don’t know, but she’s a friend of a friend of your cousin Irving’s roommate’s niece. Her name is Tina, a physics professor at the local university, and she likes extreme skiing, origami and baking. Tomorrow she’ll be giving a presentation. You can view her slides and video now, if you’d like, and scan her bio. You don’t. You think it’s interesting that her favorite author is Jane Austen and thirty-seven people “liked” a post she penned on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. She’s sipping what the computer deduces to be a green apple martini and your Google-powered submicro-computer advertises a selection of snacks to go with it, as well as a choice of vodkas and mixers, which you can order at the blink of an eye. Maybe later.” I worry about the part that says that she likes extreme skiing, origami, and baking. What about the people who still don’t know what they like? Facebook, Google, and these technologies assume that we should know what we like since technology is a mere means to and end. I am still figuring out my end as a human.

The Google Glass Keynote:


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