Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Augmented Reality Might Burst Our Personal Bubbles

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:


  1. That video is INSANE! And I love that it is called "Meta." Oh my god. They raised $195K on Kickstarter, twice what they were asking for. Wish I had gotten in on that, since I would love to be getting updates about how they are doing in the development...

  2. Do you really think that people are that nervous about getting caught on camera because they have already committed a crime or are about to commit one? While I was reading this I had more of the Panopticon feeling of "anyone could be watching so I'd better be on my best behavior", similar to the idea that we stop at the stop sign at 3am because you never know if a cop car is lurking in the busing somewhere watching you. If someone already has in mind that they're going to commit a crime or has already it's probably preemptive to some degree and they've already thought about the cameras that may be watching them.

    I do always find these upheavals by the public really amusing because the government has been watching us via satellite for many years and most stores and buildings have security cameras on them that are always running with a dude sitting behind the screen watching everything. For Google Glass to have such a reaction from the public for not wanting their rights to privacy violated is honestly laughable.


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