Most people have a little Luddite in them, but the growing opposition to a technology that isn’t even on the market yet may have some validity.
The controversy concerns Google Glass, a wearable computer in the form of eye glasses that can record videos, take pictures, chat, get directions, and look up information. It’s one of the first products in the new wearable electronics market, expected to grow to $8 billion by 2018.
A few thousand “Explorer Edition” models have been made available to testers and developers, and the reaction has been less than welcoming in some venues. A woman showing off the device to friends at a San Francisco bar had it ripped from her face, prompting Molotov’s to ban them from the premises.
Other bars in San Francisco have followed suit, and Nevada casinos have made it clear they aren’t welcomed. Naturally, a Web site has gone up, “Stop the Cyborgs,” dedicated to “fighting the algorithmic future one bit at a time.” Signs have been posted at other establishments encouraging people not to become “Glassholes.”
Google, which is being vague about when a commercial version will be on the market, has released a list of dos and don’ts for using the device. Among other things, it suggests you ask permission to use the device in public, don’t expect to be ignored when you wear Google Glass, and don’t be creepy or rude.
Most people understand that anything they do in public might be recorded or tracked by surveillance cameras, smart phones, GPS devices, drones and sensors you can’t even see. But being observed by a creepy geek is apparently too much for some people. I’m with them.