Sunday, 26 May 2013
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Perform a search with the words 'Google glass fears' today and there are 6,770,000 hits.
Scanning through the first ten pages, most of the stories are about 'privacy fears'.
Slash Gear are worried about the facial recognition problem. Third parties might be able to develop apps which let your Glass recognise the faces of people nearby - although at the moment, it could just be the people it already knows from memory, soon, this ability might be expanded.
Big arguments on Cnet where people are not sure if they will invade privacy or not - but the article's points about them needing to up their game if they are to appeal to the wider populace are very valid.
Business Insider are talking of the 'paranoia' associated with the unknown. There is talk of banning people wearing them while driving (well, duh!) and many worries about people taking surreptitious pictures.
There are plenty of other fears:
Are they a safe thing to wear close to your temples?
Will they ruin your eyesight?
Now, let's just take a minute to think about things. After all the hype, what do we actually know to be facts? The little child in all of us must yearn for this magical toy, I know I do. But are they really what we have assumed them to be? You know when you assume, you make an ass of you and me!
I think most of us have heard about Robert Scoble. Despite a webpage which takes forever to download, this computerphile has publicly declared his love for the Glass. We have seen him shower with them on (It's Chico time all over again!), we have seen him share them with others, and he has told us that he will never, ever, ever take them off.
Although running time is only 3 hours, so he has to take them off sometimes, unless he just lies down with them on while he recharges them, becoming inanimate himself, waiting for the augmentation to come back.
Because that is what they are supposed to be after all, augmented reality.
So, this privacy thing:
The Fear: Everyone will take pictures of everyone without their knowledge!
No, everyone can take pictures of everyone already without their knowledge.
Not only does almost every other person have a camera in some sort of portable device, but also, secret camera recording devices have been available for years.
What Google glass will bring is some idiot with a pair of glasses frames shouting 'Glass, take a picture' at you when they walk around. Or, they will wave their hands in front of the frames a few times, probably too quickly, switching the camera on and off a few times before they get what they want. Not the magical experience everyone hopes for. Apparently the resolution is not so sharp at the moment either.
What if the person does not want their picture taken? Can they come and shout, 'Glass, delete all photos' at someone who is wearing Goggle's glaases? In fact can anyone come and talk to your glasses? Have you ever left the room with the Speech Recognition software running and come back to find that it has been obeying someone talking on TV?
The Fear: My pictures will be uploaded online without my knowledge.
Yes, hello? They already can be. How many pics of people have you seen online without their consent? Celebrities without makeup, Walmart shoppers, Geeks and Nerds they are already up there.
What glass will bring, is after taking this low-res photo, someone fumbling with their Smartphone (which already has two high quality cameras), logging in to Facebook or Twitter and doing it that way. Because how are they going to log in to these places with Google Glass? Shout their password in?
As will all mobile devices, we will have to see about the health concerns. In twenty or thirty years' time, we will have to investigate the effects of prolonged use of mobile devices so close to the temples and eyes.
But my biggest worry is the massive potential for distraction.
How many of you have tried to speak to a child who is watching their favourite programme on TV?
The hypnotic effects are much greater if it is favourite video game or when they are lost online.
This is the latest fear: Google glass will produce generations of the deaf, dumb and blind.
Plugged in and zoned out. Augmented, but not actually present in the here and now.
What is going to stop someone trying to read their emails while they drive along the M4?
Or even watching TVCatchup walking along the road?
Try talking to your kids then!
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