Is Google Glass just a clever way for google to finally own the world?
According to the official company website from our good people over at Google.com, the mission statement of the company is to “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. What a lovely sentiment. Truly, I admire the good folks at Google for creating a search engine that has let teenagers discretely search for porn since 1996. Bully for you.
I am so enthralled with the Google universe that I almost entirely missed their nefarious plot to slowly transform the world’s population into trademarked cyborgs capable of spying on me with just a glance. Damn you Google! I trusted you!
So what are we talking about? It’s Google Glass, of course. If you are unfamiliar with Google’s new computer that you wear on your face, then I’ll fill you in.
Google Glass is an incredibly sophisticated computer that is attached to a pair of glasses frames and is capable of acting as a camera, microphone, search engine, touch pad, GPS, and overall the coolest thing ever. It is easily considered the most anticipated piece of technology since the IPhone and the Ipad. See the video below to fall deeply in love with this technology.
Part of me (the part that is obsessed with Facebook and refuses to leave home without my IPhone) can’t wait to get my hands on this thing that makes the cast of star wars look like a bunch of dial-up era losers. The other part of me, however, realizes that there are some very serious and profound implications that can go along with this technology.
What could possibly be so bad about a pair of glasses with a heads up display, capable of discretely recording any interaction that might be within the wearer’s visual range? Well, turns out quite a lot actually.
Google Glass isn’t even readily available to the public and it is already being met with some serious resistance from bars, casinos, state governments, and people who generally disapprove of heartless cyborgs. Huffington Post recently put together a piece that can give you a pretty good review of what establishments have banned Google Glass.
Movie theaters, strip clubs, casinos, and one pretty cool looking dive bar in Seattle that claims that they “… cheat tourists and drunks since 1929” have already banned Google Glass because the discrete recording capability really doesn’t flow well with these companies’ business models. To be honest, recording devices have already been banned in these types of establishments. And to be even more honest, it would seem pretty obvious that strippers and casino owners would be weary of the guy who essentially has a video camera strapped to his face.
The West Virginia state legislature has proposed a bill that would ban driving while… “using a wearable computer with head mounted display”. Gary Howell, the legislator that proposed the bill, told zdnet.com that he believes the government has a duty make sure citizens don’t injure or kill someone else when they cross the road because they’re reading a message.
That’s pretty reasonable I suppose. After all, texting while driving has been proven to lead to fatal traffic collisions. Having your Twitter feed scrolling across your eye glasses, would probably lead to some hazardous driving conditions.
There are others who object to Google’s nefarious plot to turn us into cyborgs on the basis that they literally think we will turn into cyborgs. Stopthecyborgs.org is a site dedicated to limiting the influence of Google Glass, creating areas that ban the technology, and generally giving the finger to the assholes over at Google.
The organization claims that there mission is to “…stop a future in which privacy is impossible and central control total”. The site goes on to describe the potential for a large corporation having thousands of “human spy drones” to discretely collect sensitive information and store said information in a central database accessible only by them. It is an idea straight out of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. And damn if it isn’t just a little bit plausible.
The fact is that there are some very real and uneasy implications that will undoubtedly cause a stir. After September 11th, Americans were faced with an increase of technology surveillance, the extent of which we will probably never know. Having video cameras scan the faces of patrons at a major sporting event similarly raised questions of privacy.
Google Glass is going to change the privacy conversation all together. If this technology ever became readily available, then there would never be a time when you were sure you weren’t being recorded. And while it might be well and good to record your child taking his first steps; what about the less then noble individuals who could use this technology to discretely record young children as they walk home from school. Consider the recent case of the Cleveland kidnapper, who has gained mass media attention for his deplorable actions? Yeah, that’s totally the guy I want to have this kind of technology.
Mark Hurst, founder of the consulting firm Creative Good wrote that “the experience of being a citizen, in public, is about to change.”
So why is Google doing any of this? Well, they may be secretly planning to take over the world; presumably their headquarters are on an island shaped like a giant skull. Or, Google is smart enough to realize the very obvious trend of modern technology.
The fact is that we are becoming increasingly dependent on our technology. Our lives are so deeply ingrained with our computers, that at times it is difficult to discern the two. When does a Facebook profile become more important than a real life first impression? How long until our text messages and emails completely overshadow interpersonal conversations?
And while the concept of Google Glass is disturbing now, I guarantee that the technology will soon seem common place. Before televisions were an American staple, they were considered an ‘idiot box’ that would melt your brain. Before the internet was our second home, it was a dangerous invention capable of stealing our secrets. Cell phones used to be only for serious business men. Now there are six year olds who have anxiety attacks if they lose their IPhone for five minutes.
The fact is that we are very adaptable to new technology. Google is banking on the fact that the coming of this technology is both inevitable and very profitable. There will come a day when children will receive Google Glass as a Christmas present. The future is just around the corner, I hope we are ready for it.