There has been much discussion over recent days about Google Glass and various issues relating to their use. Many people are adamant that they will infringe on peoples privacy and others contend that they open up massive opportunities for social interaction.
Edward Champion in his blog edrants.com gives 35 arguments against Glass. In a direct rebuttal, Lisa Oshima (@lisawhelan) from socializemobilize.com contends that most of the reasons are wrong or misleading.
The trouble that I see with the arguments so far is that they stick with a discussion about a prototype product. It is a package of different technologies bundled up into a single product – but it is the first of a new generation of product. Do I believe that all augmented reality products in the future will be like this? No. It is a bit like looking at the Ericsson R380 smartphone from 2000 and saying that all smartphones would work like that forever.
The key to this discussion is the word “change”. There are always going to be those people who love a new product or combination of new technologies and those who are the naysayers who prophesise doom from their usage. Google Glass is a stepping stone in both a technological and cultural way. I certainly do not think that they will become ubiquitous as mobile phones have become. But I do think that as we grow older we will start to become aware of more products being used to capture more and more data from the world around us. Some of this we may find disturbing and resulting in a lack of privacy. We will also start to use these products for our own “safe” use (of course we are never the ones to use technology for bad things – only others do that).
I tend to make an assumption in futurology that bandwidth, processing capability and storage tend towards being infinite and ultimately free and of zero size. If that is true, then it will be mainly cultural and legislative changes that we should be watching for and not people wearing funny glasses.