Google Glass is one of the most hotly anticipated technological advancements that will become available to the general public, reportedly, in 2014. But not everyone is excited by this fact. Some, in fact, want to ban the product even before it comes off the “assembly” line.
Forbes has said that Glass will go down in history as the most anticipated and banned consumer product ever released.
As of right now, Google Glass has about 2,000 of these devices out in the world. According to Forbes they are in the hands of carefully selected partners, customers, and reviewers. Of course that means that unless you or I are on the above mentioned trio of Google samplers, we will not be seeing this new product until 2014 and only then if we can afford it.
While I am squirming in my seat with excitement, there are those that want to ban Google Glass before it is ever sees the consumer market. Apparently these “banner’s” are afraid of just what can be done with the device.
Allegedly, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, has already made a decision to ban the newest in the line of portable and “wearable” computers. The gaming enforcement folks have told 12 casinos in Atlantic City that customers are not allowed to wear them.
Presumably what they are afraid of is a computer-wearing gambler breaking the bank or cheating at poker. You can laugh, but that is what this ban all boils down to. David Rebuck, the director of the Gaming Commission said “If these eyeglasses were worn during a poker game, they could be used to broadcast a patron’s hand to a confederate or otherwise be used in a collusive manner.”
Rebuck went on to say that customers who refuse to take them off can be forced to leave the property. The director of the Gaming Commission said, “Even if the glasses had not been used for cheating, their presence at a gaming table would lead to the perception that something untoward could be occurring, thereby undermining public confidence in the integrity of gaming.”
Forbes quite rightly points out that hidden cameras come in many forms. I would go one step further and say that very affordable ones are in the newspapers, usually on sale. If you don’t like those, try the shops that cater to “guy” toys. You can buy pens that have fully operational cameras in them.
Of course it goes without saying that if Atlantic City won’t allow them, neither Las Vegas nor any other casino in the country is going to be too hot on the idea. But with Google Glass coming whether they like it or not, the casino bosses will have to get the ban in effect pretty quickly. But they are not alone in their dislike of the new product.
Hospitals are worried about the privacy impact of the device.
Jim Mandler of Continuum Health Partners, which runs NY Hospitals that include Beth Israel Medical Center and St. Luke’s Hospital, told Fast Company, ”I would venture to say that we will probably have some kind of policy in place that would ban the use of these glasses until we learned more about them and their use, because it could impend on patient privacy.”
Even movie theatres, sports Arena’s, and college campuses are now leaning toward the side of paranoia considering this new technological breakthrough. These institutions, or branches of business already have to combat folks who use their mobile devices to cheat or make pirate copies of first run films on their cell phones. Image how easy it would be to do that on your Google Glass device.
Of course like anything else that is brand new and exciting, not to mention pretty damned cool, the government is stepping up to the mark and voicing their concerns. Steve Farley, State Senator for Arizona thinks that the new device should be banned in cars. He says that he will push to make sure that they are.
But Google has thrown down the gauntlet on this issue. They’ve said that Glass may have a “tremendous potential to improve safety on our roads and reduce accidents.” But Senator Farley isn’t alone in his idea of banning the device, the West Virginia legislature has proposed a ban on drivers from wearing Glass already. According to Wired, the ban will make it illegal for people to be “using a wearable computer with head mounted display.”
All this concern about the new product Google Glass has even reached the “grass roots” level. The 5 Point Cafe in Seattle, Wash. has announced a ban on Google Glass. A move that had prompting author and commentator Jeff Jarvis calling the ban “technopanic” and launching the phrase “Glassholes” into the public vernacular.
Well I for one am not a “Glasshole” and can’t wait to get a chance to use the device, if I can afford it that is.
Google is taking a giant leap forward in the world of computer technology and the naysayers of the world are going crazy with fear. Years ago, these were the same type of people who’d say that if man were meant to fly, God would have given him wings.
But as Forbes so succinctly points out, We are moving rapidly toward a world of total transparency. In our lifetime we will be recorded, broadcast, face-recognised, and socially connected by a wide array of devices. Google Glass is just the first of these 21st century devices.
Governments may hate the fact that the general population will have access to “spyware” but they can’t stop the movement. As Forbes also points out, there are companies out there that will follow Googles lead. Apple, Samsung, HTC, et al. Adverts can now say that the future is bright, the future is “wearable computing.”
Like video gaming consoles, the wearable computer will be a highly competitive industry where the ultimate winners will be the consumer. The public will eventually have a wide variety of choice and prices to choose from. Not tomorrow perhaps, but soon.
Mark Hurst who is the founder of the progressive consulting company Creative Good, wrote about this business of wearable computers in his blog. He wrote, “The experience of being a citizen, in public, is about to change.” Apparently, according to Forbes at any rate, Hurst has put a dystopian spin on his imagined future. A spin that turns every Google Glass wearing user into a potentially unwitting surveillance system of the general public. A dark view for sure, but not entirely impossible.
But with Microsoft already, allegedly, supplying the NSA with information about John and Jane Public and their with their new Xbox can now check on every household in the world on a 24 hour cycle, aren’t we already there?
While Google Glass is hotly anticipated by some, the visionaries who have a more apollonian picture of the future. The others who feel that this is a step too far in the world of technology should walk, not fly to their nearest computer outlet and not buy one. If you don’t want to be part of the future, that’s your decision. Me? I plan to save up to get one next year, if you don’t mind and even if you do. Whether it be dystopian or apollonian, I want to be part of the future.
By Michael Smith