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 Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Tax Men - Apple|
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.