March 18, 2013

35 arguments in favor of Google Glasses -Part 1-



I remember when I saw (on YouTube) the live presentation of Google Glasses I was marveled at the ability to broadcast a hangout from a skyfall... I was even more excited when I heard about it's advanced enhanced reality system, giving you information about the things around you by just looking at them.

As a Google developer I was even more excited about the API that would allow me to use the Glasses power for my own Apps... All kinds of stores could benefit from it in so many ways, from security guards being able to spot "known thieves" automatically just by looking at them to sales people getting instant information about products just by holding them, allowing for much faster and accurate service.

The platforms possibilities are endless... I'm sure mobile real-world based Game Apps will find it really appealing and I can't wait to see the ideas that emerge... But it's impossible to please everyone, and people will always find (or make) reasons to complain about new stuff, and by creating an even more globally connected community it's normal to scare globaliphobics and related...

One of such groups created a campaign against the use of Google Glasses! (for the joy of the competition) called "Stop the Cyborgs", inspired by Edward Champion's "Thirty-Five arguments against Google Glass" and I had so much fun reading them, that I want to share my view about this arguments:

- " ARGUMENT ONE

It could destroy whatever shreds of privacy we have left."
Unless you or someone you invite to your home wears Google Glasses, you're privacy will be intact, privacy on public places it's an odd concept, for it implies that you accept been seen by the people who happens to be physically there but not the rest of the world, somehow complaining about being "too public" on a public place. I'm not against it, I just find it odd, if you feel uncomfortable you can go away from people with Google Glasses, just like you would with a place with too much people, an scenario or any place with cameras (like malls, stop signs, ATM machines, schools, tourists, etc.)...

What Google Glass does is to allow people to store (or share if they find appropriate precious private moments that might fade otherwise.

- " ARGUMENT TWO
It will turn the United States into a surveillance state."
First, Google Glasses are not only sold in the United States of America, and as far as I know, there are plenty of public and private security cameras in most major cities of that country, I don't see how this will make a bigger impact than the mobile phones with embedded cameras and Internet access, or any camera or video recorder whatsoever.

By allowing the average person to do live broadcasting it's possible to enhance social security in many scenarios by making possible to have lots of other persons from around the glove as witnesses and even saving the information in a secure place, even if the device is taken away and broken. This partially protects the user in abuses from authorities or other civilians. In Russia it has become a necessity to install a camera in the car to have evidence in the case of an accident to over come reckless driving problems, such videos are very popular on YouTube, I don't know about the rest of the world, but Russians will certainly appreciate Google Glass.

- " ARGUMENT THREE

It will hold more people needlessly accountable for easily pardonable activities. "
The law it's clear and mandated, and only an authorized public authority can decide the penalty of each fault or grant a pardon. Like it or not, it is implied by the Social Contract you acquire by living inside some nation. If this device will help reduce criminal behavior It means that just by wearing it, you are helping to make your city a safer place!.

- " ARGUMENT FOUR
It is remarkably easy to steal a pair of glasses. "
And stealing it's against the law, and its also easy to steal a purse, mobile phone, wallet or even a car if you know how... But that still, most people find it very convenient to possess (and actively use) purses, mobile phones, wallets and cars... In the case of Glasses, most people wears them because they need them for medical reasons. Same could apply for some future Google Glasses users as well.

Apps could (and will) be created to aid people with certain illnesses, E.G. people with certain levels of Asperger could benefit from a device that would help them notice certain body, face and voice cues that would be otherwise ignored by the user, helping them integrate better into society.

- " ARGUMENT FIVE

It gives Google far more personal information than it needs to know. "
You choose when and how to use them, and you can read the Service Agreements of the Apps that are going to run inside the device and decide to accept them or not. If you decide to broadcast a public hangout the next time you get diarrhea, you will be giving the world more information than they even want to have, even then, it will be up to the world if they decide to watch such broadcast. And hey, if you have the right App, Google Glasses may help you find and order the right pill or get you in contact with the right kind of doctor. Again, it is up to you how and when to wear the device.

On the other hand, it allows smart advertising based on were you are and/or what you see, so instead of just pointless (and sometimes annoying) adds, you will get useful data in the form of publicity like the menu and prices of the restaurants in the area or to help you spot a nice shop that sells stuff you like.

- " ARGUMENT SIX
It will open new possibilities for online sexual extortion. "
Sexual extortion its another criminal offense, and there are authorities to deal with it, and there is very little difference between this and a phone with an embedded camera. If you choose to engage sexual intercourse with someone wearing such an obvious device you can infer what's going on, worst case scenario, there are laws to handle this as well.

On the other hand, it may protect a person who is victim of sexual harassment by exposing the aggressor in fraganti.

- " ARGUMENT SEVEN

It may increase violence. "
Web-enabled video cameras may inspire criminal thoughts for some people, it is up to those people if they succumb to those thoughts and usually authorities get involved shortly afterward. If you get this kinds of thoughts too often or they are starting to get overwhelming, please refer to a professional psychiatrist as soon as possible to help you before it becomes a problem that may affect your personal liberty and other peoples well-being.

Actually cameras are used to decrease violence in most public places. Having cameras on everyone's head, statistically promises less violence.

- " ARGUMENT EIGHT

It will discourage personal risk. "
Actually it may encourage some people to take unnecessary risks just to show-off, but if you read the author's reasons he mentions a experiment on 2011 that proved that security cameras discourage students from cheating... Bad, bad cameras... those poor students may not have studied well enough for the test and may now have to face the consequences... If they had just read that essay... Nah, it was the cameras fault... right?

Certain high-risk activities could be shared by professionals via YouTube and Hangouts so other's could see the experience, and a new-comer to extreme sports could benefit from watching this kind of shows, so when they go for it, they will have a better idea of what to expect (and hopefully do).

- " ARGUMENT NINE

We have no idea what health problems Glass will create."
Google Glasses, just like any other licensed product need to be approved by the FCC, and its build using proven technology. Here is the link to the filling of Google Glasses in the FCC. One can read about the technology involved in making the device work and the RF exposure information that comes with the documentation.

On the other hand, Google may assist health service personnel, medicine students and even general public by providing valuable information to the user as needed, or one doctor could start a hangout with many other specialist so they can all see and work with a patient without being all gathered around him or her (which could be bad for the patient's health).

- "ARGUMENT TEN

It may increase violations of doctor-patient confidentiality and attorney-client privilege. "
If a professional publishes a video or photo about sensitive information using glasses, they will be published by his or her name, and will be a very strong evidence to support a demand that may cost the professional license of the aggressor.

On the other hand, just like doctor's could benefit from Google Glasses in so many ways, lawyers could also think of ways to get valuable evidence that may be used to facilitate justice enforcement.

I decided to split the 35 arguments in a series of 3 posts, the next 10 arguments will be discussed in "35 arguments in favor of Google Glasses -Part 2-"