While clicking through the Real World Magazine I stumbled upon an article published by CNET, “Wearables with augmented reality aremind-blowing—and an ethical nightmare”. The article does not really focus on the augmented reality at all, but the ethical questions they have been and will be raised when more and more of the public begin to wear these wearables. A wearable as the article calls it is something like Google Glass. It is a head mounted device that delivers information directly to the user.
One of the main ethical issues brought up is the camera on an augmented reality wearable. It is one thing when the public can see you holding up a camera or cell phone and taking a picture, versus not being able to tell if there is a camera visible at all. Some feel that this is a violation of privacy, and whether it is “appropriate to use in public, safe to use while driving and mentally healthy to engage in day to day”. I tend to disagree with the violation of privacy. I think that there is little to know difference between the wearable’s camera and a cell phone, or security camera. A cell phone can snap a picture jut as quick as a wearable since most cell phone users always have their phone in hand. I also feel that there are security cameras in most populated public locations. This cameras capture out every move. I understand that people do not want their picture taken by random people so easily, but I don’t think the public realizes that this is happening every day. Or world has already been altered by this technology, now we are just making it hands free.
This makes me think a lot about the fishbowl affect or the Panopticon. I think that the easy to take picture or video on wearables makes people nervous because they feel like this will cause them to be watched constantly. One of the commentor’s on the article stated “I think there are three(3) not so obvious dynamics underlying the entire discussion: 1)The criminalization of the public; i.e. everyone has, or about to, commit a crime. 2)The militarization of law enforcement; Law enforcement is no longer considered "civil; and 3) Social value lies in what one spends. Think about it”. Kenney_B brings up a valid point which goes a long with the Panopticon. The idea that everyone has or is about to commit a crime could be a reason why the public is so nervous about the idea of being possibly watched at every moment.
I feel that these wearables are going to be a social experiment. We will not know how it affects us until it is in full use. Personally I think that everyone is a bit touchy about the whole subject, but perhaps the article is right and the negative attention Google Glass and other wearables have received may stop them from being used and being successful
This video below shows some of the most advanced augmented reality glasses: