Google Glass conversation questions

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Google Glass is a wearable computer system with a head-up display which was developed by Google in 2013. After three years of abandonment, in July 2017 a new update appeared.[1] See also [2].

Features[edit]

The product resembles a pair of glasses and, according to Google, users can

  • Say “take a picture” to take a picture.
  • Record what they see. Hands-free.
  • Share what they see with other people - live.
  • Get driving or walking directions right in front of them.
  • Speak to send an SMS message.
  • Ask Google to display information by asking a question out loud.
  • Use language translation features.
  • See appropriate information displayed in front of them unasked for, e.g. automatic data about flights at an airport.

Using them[edit]

  • Under what circumstances can you imagine using the functions listed above?
  • How useful do you think they would be?
  • Can you think of circumstances where they could save a person's life?
  • How would you react if you were in a business meeting and, at a crucial moment, somebody put these glasses on?

Problem areas[edit]

For differing reasons some people want the technology banned in the following places. What objections do you think people would have? What is your opinion?

  • Bars, discos and night clubs.
  • Casinos.
  • Theatres, cinemas, sporting events - while watching any paid entertainment.
  • Museums and art galleries.
  • Swimming pools and beaches.
  • Changing rooms.
  • What is the difference between being able to look at something and being able to take a photograph of it?
  • As the technology gets increasingly smaller will banning such things eventually become impossible?

Viewpoints[edit]

These are some other comments or concerns people have expressed. They are both positive and negative. What is your opinion of each one?

  • Google will know a lot (or even more) about you. Where you go, what interests you have, who your friends are, etc.
  • Google will know about the people you look at - where they are and what they are doing.
  • Drivers or pedestrians could be distracted when wearing these glasses.
  • You could use them to check the identity of anybody you are talking to. This might be an invasion of their privacy, or you could use the glasses to find out about that person's birthday, etc.
  • They may be easy to steal.
  • There may be unknown health risks.
  • If they were hacked people could learn a lot of personal information about you.
  • People will stop listening at events which they consider boring and secretly watch videos or play games instead.
  • The experience could be loaded with advertisements.
  • As well as adding to the visual experience, it could also conceivably be used to delete information. Thus if there were a particular person you didn’t want to see you could make them literally invisible.
  • Having a map constantly displayed in front of you would take the fun out of exploring.
  • Students could use them to cheat in exams.
  • If you were having a conversation with somebody who was wearing the glasses you wouldn't know if they were paying attention to you, looking up information on Google, recording the conversation or transmitting the conversation to somebody else.
  • The glasses could revolutionise the education system. If all facts are constantly available to everyone then the process of forcing students to memorise lists of facts will become outdated. Instead schools would have to concentrate on teaching students on how to use and manipulate facts.
  • Many people are now unable to carry out mental arithmetic because of the habitual use of technology. With these glasses we will lose the power to memorise things or to find our way around unaided.
  • This technology will be very useful for older people with poor memories who can't find their way home or who can't remember shopping lists.

And finally...[edit]

  • Would you like to have a pair of these glasses?
  • Where would you use them most?
  • Very often society's first reaction to new technology is to try to ban or control it. This was the case with digital cassettes, video recorders and there are still attempts to control the internet. Meanwhile both Apple and Microsoft are said to be working on their own versions of Google Glass. Assuming that the technology becomes popular, and considering the discussion points above, how do you think this technology will have changed society in ten years' time?

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Tim Collins, Daily Mail, Google brings its ill-fated Glass augmented reality headset back from the dead with its first software update in almost three years, 22 June 2017.
  2. Nick Bilton, The New York Times, Why Google Glass Broke, February 4, 2015.