As Google touts its new Glass technology, one thing is becoming clear: if computerised eyewear becomes popular to the same level that smartphones have, Glass will change our country forever.
What will the world be like if everybody is wearing almost-invisible glasses that can record audio and video without anybody noticing? When people can share conversations in real time? What if 'down the line' they have real-time integrated facial recognition technology linked to social media information. What will that world be like to live in?
In a word: 'scary'.
The starting price for Google Glass is $1,500; couple that with the fact that wearable technology has an uphill struggle to gain social acceptance makes it hard to envision them everywhere. But prices fall, and there's a social point where things that onced looked odd: mobile phones, white headphones, Deely boppers, can start to look normal if enough people wear them.
Nobody's really sure how good, or useful, Google Glass will be yet, but if they live up to potential it's not a stretch to see this technology becoming a commonplace sight.
When you stop and think: this is a thought both exciting and terrifying in equal measures. Imagine walking down the street and knowing that anybody around you could be snapping photographs and recording video. Mobile phones make this accessible at the moment, but not surrepticious. You know when people are using phones to record you. Anton Wahlman writing for The Street says: "As soon as you see them, you're aware that you might be filmed. People don't like being filmed."
Then there's the potential for real-time facial recognition, and social media information, which Google has implemented in the form of Google+. Combine the idea of widespread crowd-sourced surveillance (aka Sousveillance) with social databasing and it's not hard to start fantasising about a futuristic scientific dystopia.
Wahlmon takes things a little far in his piece, saying: "Can you imagine the bar scene when people start wearing Google Glasses? Within a second or two, you will have all available information about the person in front of you. Some of that information may not be so flattering.. My Google Glasses might display the social security number, the general rap sheet, social media appearances, and so on, of the person in front of me."
Google hasn't made any reference to facial recognition in any of its Google glass technology. But there is sharing and Hangout integration with Google+ and the idea of people electing to share a Google+ public profile via Google Glass isn't beyond the realms of human imagination.
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