Google has finally announced the 8,000 winners of “Google Glass.” These winners have been selected to be the first users of this new product, which is a pair of glasses that functions like smartphones. These winners still have to pay $1,500 US a piece for the test version of Google Glass. Moreover, they also have to travel to New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco to pick up the “glass” in person; otherwise, the valuable opportunities to use Google glass would be given to other person (LIEDTKE, 2013). According to some news interview, a winner said that winning this “Google Glass” contest is 10 times better than winning the lottery.
Google said these winners are invaluable to the production of this product, because these users can provide insightful feedbacks that could help its engineers get a better understanding of how the technology might be used and make any necessary adjustments before the device is officially released to the world (LIEDTKE, 2013).
I understand that it is exciting whenever there is a new electronic product is first publicly announced and distributed, but there are a few problems with Google Glass. Is the device worth this much? Is it necessary? And the major thing that I am worried about is how will Google Glass change the world of human communication?
What is Google Glass and what made it special?
Google Glass is a wearable computer with a head-mounted display which is being developed by Google (Albanesius, 2012). Google Glass provides a new way to connect people with their email, online social media by displaying information in a smartphone-like hands-free format (LIEDTKE, 2013). Also, the most exciting part about Google Glass is the built-in camera; users are allowed to take pictures and film videos without holding the phone or any big camera.
What do I feel about it?
It is nice to see the development of today’s technology; however there are several things I am worried about.
1. Google Glass utilizes augmented reality
The creation of Google Glass has shortened the distance between humans and technology. 10 years ago, when people want to use the internet, they had to access it from school, workplace or home; but now, people can go online by taking out their multi-functional phone. For these years, there is a gap between humans and technology, but now, the gap is disappearing because of the rapid development of technology.
Google Glass takes humans and their interaction with devices to a whole new level because it reduces this distance completely. Google Glass plans to integrate digital interfaces into our lives. Accessing the internet, posting on social networking sites and taking pictures will be like any other bodily activity. The Google Glass is not a separate device on our body; it is a part of our bodies. The gap between people and their electronic devices will be finally broken down with Google Glass. The consequences are still unknown.
2. Possible Consequences
One possible result of this is that young people might find it difficult to distinguish the difference between reality and virtual reality. One related example is that there is a growing population of babies and toddlers who think that all printed material has multi-touch functionality. That is, they think a physical magazine or a newspaper can be swiped like a picture on an iPad. Of course I am not saying that everyone would be unable to see the differences between the real world and the digital world, I am suggesting that there will be a growing inability to discern the difference. When we become more integrated with these powerful tools, we become addicted to them. Humans might grow lost and disillusioned with reality if products like Google Glass spreads as an everyday device.
3. Google Glass is symbolic of our addiction and dependence
Electronic devices are like a drug. People are addicted to it. Nowadays, people are already obsessed with them, and this technological addiction would become much more serious in the future. The fact that there are countless of thousands of people waiting in line for Google Glass is symbolic of our addiction. Addiction is two-sided. First, when one decides to limit their dosage, the person experiences withdrawal. We see this already with many children, who are unable to live happily if they have the internet taken away from them. Second, constant usage creates tolerance. People need more and more on their phones. We multitask frequently. We need more gigabytes, bandwidths, and data in order to sustain both our personal and professional lives.
The greatest problem with our addiction to technology is that is not a taboo yet. Again, the fact that the world is excited for these devices means too many of us are addicted together. Imagine if the whole world is dependent on illicit drug. Would anyone know the dangers or risks? Who would quit if everyone around you were hooked? This is the current state of technology now. We should not eat everything companies like Google feed us. We need to step back, intervene and reflect on this invisible social problem.
Thanks for reading
Albanesius, C. (2012, 4 12). Google ‘Project Glass’ Replaces the Smartphone With Glasses. Retrieved from PC MAG: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2402613,00.asp
LIEDTKE, M. (2013, 3 26). Google picks 8,000 winners of ‘Glass’ contest. Retrieved from Yahoo: http://news.yahoo.com/google-picks-8-000-winners-glass-contest-220221488.html