The cyborg-ification of the human race at the hands of Google is nearly upon us via Google Glass, and lawmakers, cities, casinos, and at least one Seattle dive bar aren't having it. Do we want to live in a world of instantaneously connected zombie dorks, all talking to themselves, viewing the world with digitized map overlays and shooting video of us disgracing ourselves without us even knowing it? We may not have a choice.
The wearable computer will be capable of snapping photos perhaps with no more than a wink as a trigger shooting video, giving you directions, translating languages, and being an audio-visual Siri that projects answers in front of your face. Given the immense possibilities of the device in the hands of our increasingly, obsessively documentarian culture, people are lawyering up left and right trying to pre-emptively legislate its use in the interest of safety, and protecting privacy.
Tech blogger Robert Scoble has even proven that you can shower with the damn thing on, which, given the fact that we just had to see this photo, may be reason enough to ban the thing, but we digress.
And Google's own Eric Schmidt hasn't exactly been sensitive to the very obvious privacy issues that his company runs up against with this and their other technologies, having said in 2009, "If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place." Wouldn't that go over well in court!
Back in March Gothamist got into some of the legal nightmares that could be upon us with this thing, and now there's two new pieces on the topic, one on Atlantic Wire and one in the NYT. First off, it looks like Las Vegas casinos are planning to ban the use of the device on casino floors and in shows; and West Virginia lawmakers are getting ahead of themselves by already looking at a proposed bill to ban the use of Google Glass while driving. The proposal came just before the most recent legislative session ended, but it is likely to come up again.
Also, the group StoptheCyborgs has a campaign against the thing, and they've already noted a program one developer created that allows one to shoot pictures with just a wink (rather than a voice command). They also point to the possibility of anyone hacking into the device while you're wearing it, and thus being able to record everything you see, say, and do without you knowing it.
One big question is still how much consumers actually need or want the device, and how much they'll pay for it. Like, will this just be a niche item for wealthy early adopters and geeks, and therefore the dystopian vision of a restaurant full of idiots wearing them will only ever exist in Palo Alto? It's not clear when the device will be on sale to the public, but it is soon going to be sold to 8,000 beta testers, or "explorers," who applied for the privilege and are all ponying up $1,500 for it. And Business Insider reports on a rumor that Google is plotting a chain of retail stores just to sell the device.