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Google Glass hurts privacy, social interaction

Google Glass hurts privacy, social interaction (credit: Kyung Min Lee/) Google Glass hurts privacy, social interaction (credit: Kyung Min Lee/)

Last Tuesday, Google Glass was available for purchase by the public for one day. As with most technological developments, this piece of technology brings new ethical and social questions to the table.

Many see the biggest issue, like most recent breakthroughs to other technological products, to be one of privacy. But in this case, a whole new dynamic between the rights of individuals is established.

People should have the right to buy a commodity such as Google Glass on the market. But what if this good allows people to record videos, take pictures, and post them to the web without allowing any indication to others who may be captured in the pictures and videos? Don’t people have the freedom to control their entrance into the broader public sphere, and the freedom to enjoy a meal across the table from another person with the technology without worrying that their every word is being recorded?

Privacy is a tricky subject, but in the end Google Glass is not the be-all and end-all of privacy concerns in terms of recording private conversations or tracking a person’s
movements.

Those who wish to record private moments already have other means of doing so, though Google Glass does make this ability more widely available. And those who wish to track someone can already rely on the individual’s cellphone.

The real issue with Google Glass is what it will do to social interactions. The world is already plagued by smartphones intruding into conversations, meals, and dates. It seems questionable whether humans can resist the temptation of constant connectivity during real-world interactions, or if technology will get in the way.

Last week, NPR reported on the effects of parents’ smartphone use on their children, concluding that parents’ excessive use of technology causes children to feel exhausted, frustrated, sad, and angry in fighting to get their parent’s attention — a response similar to sibling rivalry. And that’s just due to smartphone use. How much worse will the problem get if the device is actually put on their face?

In the end, the fallout from Google Glass will be entirely dependent on the consumer’s response. Maybe one day we will realize that the upgrade isn’t worth the downgrade in our social interactions and, ultimately, our quality of life.