Google Glass and Everything That Went Wrong


hello fellow humans my name is Didem
and today I want to talk about Google Glass and everything that went
wrong with it recently I’ve been seeing smart glasses
on the news with a start-up called North all the way up north in Canada backed by
Amazon and they think they finally cracked the code on smart glasses and
Facebook recently confirmed that their next big project was going to be AR (augmented reality) glasses so I thought this is a good time to think about everything that went
wrong with Google glass but before I get into it I want to let you know that
every week on this channel I make a video about science and technology
sometimes they’re science fiction reviews other times they are science and
technology news and sometimes they are these little video essays about a
particularly controversial topic in science and technology. So let’s take a
look When I think about Google Glass
one of the very first things that I think
about is how it could be used to do
massive surveillance Herbert Schallert wrote about
information inequalities way back in 1996 when I was in fact just three years
old and he was actually warning us from that time onwards that the conversation
around surveillance and censorship was going to move from the governments to
big corporations but the usual response from governments or big corporations to
our very legitimate concern about being constantly watched is well if you have
nothing to hide why be worried about it well isn’t that just a big load of
nonsense what would you do if somebody came to your house in the middle of the
night and they said you have a new book shop what do you have on your fridge
what are you hiding under your bed what would you say to them the right answer
in this case is get the hell out of my house it’s not really because you have
something to hide from them it’s more because they have no business in your
private life consider the fact that you could use
facial recognition technology with Google glass or any smart glass that has
a camera attached to it Google refused this idea that they put
facial recognition technology into their device or that they would do this at any
point in the future but they admit that any sort of third-party app or software
could in fact be installed into your Google glass so if this were the case
and smart glasses were actually being used in conjunction with facial
recognition technology who do you think would be disproportionately affected by
that type of surveillance well let’s just say that it wont be based on the
content of their character putting your privacy at risk and you
know what other really crazy technology could be installed to your smart glasses
emotion recognition that’s right when Google glass was around there was an app
that promised advertisers real-time information about the emotional reaction
that the consumers were having to their advertisements I mean what kind of a
world is that to live in I bring that up because there is this utopian discourse that often goes
hand in hand with a kind of technological advancement narrative it
is invoked in marketing campaigns of the four Giants Amazon Google Facebook and
Apple and even in narratives of space exploration but the reality is that
technology isn’t and cannot be a quick fix. It’s not a remedy for all the human
problems that we have created over the course of hundreds of years. If anything
introducing technology to human society as is, amplifies some of those problems
because of the way it makes everything so much more efficient and speaking of
power dynamics and technology with relation to Google Glasses one of the
most important things is to think about who gets to wear them so when Google
glasses first came out they were framed as these trial run beta version of a
product that was still in the making but at the same time it was also being
marketed as this limited-edition high-end luxury item and it was put on
display at the New York Fashion Week not to mention the fact that it was sold
for $1,500 so you had to be really wealthy and connected to get a hold of
one which led to some people on the internet creating a blog called white
men wearing Google glasses white men of course being consequently very symbolic
of wealth and connections but the point is if Google glasses or any kind of
wearable technology is in fact providing a certain kind of freedom it is
certainly not for everybody and only for a select few individuals I think more
importantly this freedom comes at the expense of those whose emotional and
physical space is being intruded Marketing of the Google glass actually
positions its wares as explorers does that word ring any bells?
yeah it heavily reeks of a kind of colonial language. You’re wearing a
camera and walking around making everybody at your eyesight without their
consent an object of surveillance for Google the company side note San
Francisco has a massive gentrification problem on the one hand you have the
local population who represents the low-income people of color community of
San Francisco and on the other hand you have the well-paid techies who often
come from background of being white or Asian so you already have this kind of
tension in town and add to that people walking around with glasses that have
cameras attached to them filming people in their day-to-day lives you can
imagine how this was very unappealing to many people to the point that some
encounters got even a little violent MIT professor and one of the forefathers of
smart glasses technology professor Steve Mann actually was one of the people who
got attacked were wearing a pair of smart glasses but his general idea with
developing this technology was that if surveillance is gonna be around
why not democratize it and why not give as many people as possible access to
this type of power and that might seem appealing for a second but professor
Mann’s idea is very much reminiscent of a kind of dystopian society
where citizens are spying on each other for the sake of big government or big
corporations just before I go there’s something I
want to leave you with to think about there seems to be a paradox at the very
foundation of technologies like the Google glass which is that they make the
object of their data collection which is us very visible through collecting our
information exposing our privacy while they themselves are becoming more and
more invisible this is done through different things but design seems to be
a huge part of it and that’s what designers at this new startup North
were also saying that they wanted the technology to be invisible so that you
didn’t even feel like it was being intrusive in your life I should add a
tiny note about the startup North here which is that the company doesn’t
actually add cameras to their glasses unlike Google glasses and they’re saying
that the microphone is only listening to you when you activate it I don’t know
about that second point thank you so much for watching I really appreciate your time if you liked this video make sure to leave us a like down below and
if you have any thoughts on the Google glass or any of the issues that I raised
please make sure to comment down below a lot of these ideas I presented actually
came from an essay that I read recently titled Through Google Glass it was
written by two brilliant academics Safiya Umoja Noble who’s a professor and author of Algorithms of Oppression: how search engines reinforce racism and Sarah T
Roberts who is a professor and the author of the book Behind the Screen:
Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media. They’re both brilliant
women and the paper was incredibly insightful so if anything that I said
sparked your interest or if you want further information please go check out
their paper I’ll put a link in the description and
maybe tweet them this video that’s it for me this week see you next week bye

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17 thoughts on “Google Glass and Everything That Went Wrong

  1. hey! just wanted to say that this is really good content, and very informative, delivered in an entertaining way. subscribed :p

  2. I think with our current time. Just because you can introduce a product to disrupt the market Can’t be the only goal.
    We end up getting a disruptive product into a society that has no way to maintain/monitor it.

    The company almost get free range as to how it can fit with society.

    Great video, new to channel love y’all work.

  3. Thank You For The Info 🙂 I think this is very helpful 🙂 Well let's just say I am maybe getting this, but not sure yet

  4. Wow the amount of work you put into this video is up to the standard to the videos buzzfeed makes! Before you know it you guys will definitely have a million subscribers in no time!🙂😃

  5. I thought this was going to be a serious critique of the glass. Nope, just a pile of left wing social justice warrior nonsense.

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