Skip to main content

What good are Google glasses? OR How tech companies can choose not to be evil.


Why invent Google glasses?
Here's Sergey Brin trying to answer that question.


Doesn't his argument seem a little unconvincing - a weak reason to deploy the best of the brains on the planet and 3 years worth of efforts. 
 The primary pivot of his argument is the glass' ability to improve social posture (?). He talks about how when interacting with your cell phone, you look down, away from the rest of the world. How when nervous, one fiddles with cell phone to escape the real world.
So how is Glass a solution? It is an even more 'evolved' tool to keep the outside world 'out'!

Ok, so Glass frees your hands. for what? for better documentation of our narcissism? These series of innovations (social media, smart phones, glass) are answering the most base yearnings of our narcissistic behavior.

When you look down, atleast there's that bit of honesty - 'yes, I am looking away from you. Sorry for my awkward inability to be social.' With Glass, how honest are you with your interactions in the real world, if you are constantly mindful of the online world at the corner of your eye. (Social media is the magical mirror for the narcissists. Google glass makes the narcissism even more intimate.) Obsessive Facebook users know the urge to check notifications. Imagine that with Glass.


Watch 'Black Mirror's this episode for another perspective of how this tech might evolve. (Must see the whole series. work of genius.)


More importantly, I feel that technology giants like Google and Apple don't really prioritise well. It seems that the world has stepped back and has given the mantle of technological progress to these few companies. There is this unfortunate tendency where excellence in one aspect is taken to mean a general quality of excellence - cricketers as politicians, businessmen as policymakers... wrong wrong assumption.

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tax Men - Apple
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesIndecision Political HumorThe Daily Show on Facebook


Human ingenuity can certainly do much better than what Google or Apple have done. Well, to begin with, we need to get our priorities right.
The starting point should not be 'what can technology do?'. Because, its with questions like these that Google Glass gets created and one has to see Sergey Brin trying to force fit a weak reason for its creation after the product idea had already been thought of.
Perhaps, the starting point should be 'what do we really need right now and how can technology help us get it?'

We don't need more ways to shut off people, we need more ways to be confident in our social interactions.
We need to be able to protect what is sacred & personal to us. (Hence always opt-in as default, not opt-out option as default.)
We need control over what we say, do, hear, see.
We need a better understanding of what we consume and how it affects the world.
We need technology that doesn't eliminate another human being from interaction/ work/ jobs.
We need technology that  doesn't increase the gulf between the haves and have-nots.


We need a non-Luddite, but a realist, humanist manifesto for technology companies to follow. To not be evil means eternal vigilance of the effect of one's own actions.
Companies are eager to 'lead the change', 'make a dent in the universe', but with what effect? with what cost? 
Apples and Oranges of the world need to think not only of the superior interface designs, but also about how the ones who cannot afford these elitist fruits would react to this new exclusion? How is it making obsession about trivial material issues fashionable and what does it mean to our ecology, social interactions, our economy?
If you do not want to be evil, be a little more circumspect.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

resistire

i woke up today with 'happy together' by the turtles going on n on in my head. what a song! i heard it on loop for quite a few times before i got sated.

and then while on train, another song started doing rounds. i didnt even know the song. it was something i heard a while back while watching almodovar's 'tie me up tie me down'. god bless google and imdb. the song is 'resistire' by el duo dynamico. what a wonderful song. its one of those songs which makes u roll up ur sleeves and draw in the fingers into a fist to punch the air above.
now i want to know of resistance songs from south america. south america has a dynamic history and present of resistance and its poetic legacy is unparalleled. it would be a surprise if we can't find out some kickass stuff in this sphere.. resistance songs from south america.
even better even we could lay our hands on some native music.. that would be kickass. afaik, the conquistador's have been very successful in elimina…

Value

Things turn into cash
once they are stripped of their lives -
their breath,
their freedom,
their dignity
or their joy.

A fish on the table
and a cubicle dweller..
both are united in their solvency,
their ability to be stripped of their lives and turned into money.

This solvency is our own making
Hold up your hands against the sun and your favourite gods
Do they dissolve? 
Hold up your heart and see if it beats for them
Hold your joys in your hands and fling them towards the system,
does it stick?

For a better world
first we need to walk away from this world.

The rich will always have heavier hammers

Just read this - ‘I want to help humans genetically modify themselves’
So a guy is obsessed with a certain technology, feels he can be a pioneer to a brave new world and justifies it to himself in bad faith by thinking - "This technology that I’m trying to do is for all of us. Whether you’re a big corporation or somebody in their basement, you have access to this stuff – everybody does. People respond very positively to that."

This, I believe is a dangerous belief - that tech can 'level the playing field' in a sense. It never does.
Internet was supposed to be the great leveler. And for a while with Yahoo anonymous chat and early days of mushrooming internet cafes, it really did feel that way. But soon enough, the powerful people have turned it into a tool that is more advantageous to their interest at the expense of common people's. Governments use it for surveillance and propaganda. Companies use it to brainwash people into buying things they don't need.…