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The recent invention of ‘Google Glass’ has stirred the world of technology, bringing forth a new revolution in wearable technological devices. The new gadget said to be released later this year, has claimed to uphold a range of possibilities in enhancing the quality of life in terms of communication through its innovative features, facilitating the way we interact with each other around the world. In relation to the many benefits provided, there are always various issues that come along with new technological products. Within this essay, I will evaluate the arguments of this topic by exploring the different perspectives for and against ‘Google Glass’ including; the many beneficial features in communication and other areas where the product can become of great use, also the various issues concerning privacy and crime.
‘Google Glass’ is an optical head mounted wearable technology with a range of easy accessible features such as hands-free components including voice and gesture control functions allowing business personnel’s, personal use and a range of other users to be able to capture memories with their eye’s and through voice control as tested by Swider (2013, pg1) “I took hands-free photos by saying; okay glass take a picture.” The beneficial attributes of Google Glass range in number as there isn’t any competition or anything like it at this stage of time. With its wireless connectivity photos, videos, podcasts and information can be shared anywhere around the world using the mentioned hands-free capabilities. With this feature businesses, journalists and other work professionals in need of access to digital media are able to capture moments of important information, send or receive it in an instance of time. In addition to its development Glass enables communication to become more easily possible with built-in microphone and a bone conduction transducer for audio signals, voice over Internet protocol (Eysenbach, 2014). Google Glass allowing communicative procedures to be more accessible on the go demonstrating a high future prospects for Google and bettering communication in our lives.
Another form of its easy access transmission intelligence is the way people are able to send messages, data, photos or information through a basic head tilt, or with the touch pad on the side of the glasses. With the automatic beam of a gentle notifications by ‘Google Reminder’ information and settings that is requested by the glass owner is automatically beamed to the eye. This eliminating the struggle to take out any other device to check; notifications, weather, apps or messages, also reinforced by Swider (2013, pg1) “All of this data appeared in the top right corner of my vision, all without the need to take out my smartphone.” In this sense there are a variety of possibilities that await Google Glass in relation to better and accessible communication in business professions and for personal use, which is further explored throughout the essay.
In regards to further possibilities of the new technology, not only is Google Glass seen to be effective in communication for business use and/or personal use, but as time elapses various literatures have proclaimed that the use of Google Glass may come into use in the medical field for communicative needs. For example documentation and even forms of communicative information such as sending data from one lab to another, creating a more convenient way of accessing and communicating important data which can be done through the use of the hands-free built-in camera, video and voice encoder (Journal of Science and Technology 2014). In a leading peer-reviewed e-Health Journal (Journal of Medical Internet Research) there had been tests and observations recently done to determine the feasibility of utilizing Google Glass in forensics. The Glass was used to perform hands-free operations and evaluate the extent of satisfaction by the images taken. ………….Although the images weren’t as good compared to the DSLR camera, the team had decided it’s a great strength in creating better communication and learning for medical education, reflected in the editors speech; “Students may join a complicated autopsy or operation and can see exactly what their teachers see, thus learning from watching their actions” (Eysenbach 2014). Besides the communication side of Google Glass, in the medical field various tests and examinations brought compelling use of the glasses to be used to identify results of Immuno-assays. Parviz (Cited in ACS Publications, 2014) This laboratory experiment by ‘Ozcan and Colleagues’ and other tests on the Glass have established various purposes in laboratories for scientist and physicians by empowering them with convenient on-the-go access to information , data, hands free recording, documentation and the live sharing each other’s view point live. Within this stanza we come to realize the opportunities for Google Glass are limitless and exceed in a branch of areas which facilitate various needs for people and organizations not only through communicative features but also through its many other attributes making life easier and more convenient.
Despite its positives, when a new technological product is introduced to the world, it is through its beneficial features where issues such a privacy and crime lye. In terms of privacy concerns many literatures argue that Glass may be a form of assistance in aiding criminal acts and carrying out crime across the globe in an elaborate network of Google Glasses. Dr. Katrina Michael w associate professor at the University of Wollongong Sydney, Australia reveals her concern in regards to privacy laws related to Glass arguing that “we could become walking creators of data” and expresses that “we will become more stressed” as there will be no privacy left, because we will be on the screen of someone else’s camera almost all the time. (Slane 2013). Although Dr. Michael isn’t against the Glass and its aspiring features she is uncertain about the leading result this product will cause in which she calls an ‘Unberveillance society,’ meaning “where you don’t have the right to be alone, someone is intruding your life and sharing it with other people.” Privacy today is a big issue and will remain regardless of how exposed our lives already are through social media and other innovative technologies in today’s society. Not to mention Dr. Michael still favors the Glass “but I am excited for what kind of bumper stickers may emerge. ‘Wearing Glass and Driving Is CLEARLY Dangerous’.” Therefore besides the concerns most views of the Google Glass are positive this upholding a bright perspective for communications through the product but the company is in definite need to review privacy laws.
Revisiting the issues of Glass in relation to privacy and crime, basically the main concern for people is that the device has capabilities that can erode society’s security and maybe even safety, although there are laws in place for privacy and security in many countries. In Australia the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) regulates the handling of personal data about individuals, including; collection, use and disclosure of the information, meaning one can be convicted of a crime if they possess information of data about or of the individual without their permission. In response Google Designers have looked into the various concerns regarding its Glass recording and imaging capabilities by programing it so that it is in need of the user to give voice commands or tap the Glass. Either way (HENN 2013) claims that hackers are revealing the possibility to re-engineer Google glass to operate in a manner different than to the way it was intended to. This calls for a re-examination and change in privacy roles (Safavi and Shukur, cited in Life Science Journal 2014, p.111). For example as mentioned by Dr Michael “You could be walking on different streets in different countries and ... I say ‘share with this person’ and you would see what I’m seeing and I see what you’re seeing which means we could be participating in remote crime,” (Slane 2013). Although this might seem most unlikely at the moment but as the product becomes more popular throughout the world like for example the ‘Apple iPads’ where everyone has one, then the statement made by Dr. Michael may be of concern. Either way within today’s society there isn’t much privacy left, hence as mentioned before within this stanza there is a need for the re-examination of privacy laws.
In response to the potential issues raised in regards to security, privacy and crime, Google Glass announced It “will not allow facial recognition applications on Google until strong privacy protections were in place.” (Co., G. Project Glass, 2013). (Safavi and Shukur, Cited in Life Science Journal 2014, p.112). Then announcing its main priority is its users privacy, making sure there users are protected. In relation to ‘Samsung’s’ privacy issues as concerns arose regarding privacy and security of individuals worrying about their photos or a video taken of them without their consent, Samsung had disabled the ‘silent camera mode’ therefore allowing people around the user to be aware that a photo or video is being taken. Similarly Google bought forth the new design which enables only the owner to record using the device by sound or tapping which can be easily detected by those around them. Google and also Samsung have demonstrated a good example of having to review their goals due to legal and societal implications (Safavi and Shukur, Cited in Life Science Journal 2014, p.112).