The Ethics of Google Glass: Do You Actually Think You Will Resist? #googleglass


I’ve been thinking about Google Glass lately and the singularly unusual antipathy this new piece of technology is receiving. I mean, have we somehow momentarily forgotten that we live an age where technology is what brings new possibilities and hope? (Microsoft Super Bowl Ad is embodiment of the great hope, even salvation? expected from and placed in technology) We are living in 2014 and do we still think we can resist the march of technological progress like a bunch of Amish?

Quite a few years ago I remember thinking that it would be great if you could blink your eye and start a video recording hands free. Of course recording just the audio of a conversation would be great as well. Its always with you, no fumbling for phone, then app. I wasn’t even thinking of a small screen, but that just increases the “possibilities”. Isn’t glass the perfect solution for unsafe driving mobile calls? Why, Glass could even avoid the “sea of phones” problem that the previous generation of technology brought us.


Why the luddite like hate and rancor over Google Glass? As I tried to answer this question for myself I could think of several things that might be igniting the current resistance:

  • Super geek look (modern version of a pocket protector toting nerd?)
  • Invasion of privacy by those with Glass
  • Invasion privacy by big vendor

So if the “looking like an idiot” is an objection we have to Glass, what if the product is shrunk to a negligible size, will the problem be solved? Let’s say somehow auto magically it could be miniaturized so it was unnoticeable, would that address the issue? Well if size will address our collective problem with Glass, I suspect we can confidently expect a solution. Mobile phones now no longer need research to go smaller and smaller so all these manufacturers efforts can be focused on a glass-like product and inevitably this problem will be solved.

Or is our angst that we know it will become miniaturized and that is precisely the problem? Is it our concern with privacy that is triggering the luddite reflex? But hasn’t anyone that already has Gmail (isn’t that everyone?)..or, or already surrendered privacy about their most private matters? Has our toleration level with a vendor that seems bent on creating a kind of “Brave New World”, a world that is both creepy and pleasurable, reached a breaking point? Or are we so squeamish about the possibility of being video recorded without our permission?


Is there an unwritten borderland (distance from our eyes?) across which a screen or tech may not cross? Are we concerned about tech getting between us and the real world? (apparently only visually, because we crossed the audio/microphone line some time ago?) Are we afraid of becoming cyborgs?

Or is it that in Google Glass we see a product that delivers a concerning balance of creepy and helpful, hope and fear? Something that we intuitively recognize as powerful, but along with it triggers a primal fear?

In the end Google Glass or something like it will arrive. It will be introduced into your life gradually: maybe at first only used in the warehouse or while exercising and it will grow from there. Perhaps we just want to complain a bit then comply?

I plan to keep thinking about Glass. I’d like to hear any thoughts you have as well. <end>

ID Strangers With Google Glass:

NYPD Testing Google Glass:

Places that don’t allow Glass:

Wired: Jets with screens instead of windows:

Cyborg, slowly acclimate/part time, how it will modify us, crossing the wearable divide

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