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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Opinion

Consumer tech is a toy, not a necessity


Once again, Google has tech heads across the world drooling — this time over a controversial project announced last week.

The program, called Project Glass, is a pair of augmented reality glasses that bring the power of computer technology straight to the wearer’s eyes, avoiding any need to look down at a phone. The demo video that Google released has already garnered more than 9 million views on YouTube.

But the reception is clearly divided.

The video, filmed in first-person, follows a male wearer as he goes about his daily routine. We watch as transparent meeting reminders, maps, and webpages smoothly appear on the glasses’ display, each function activated solely by the man’s voice. The demo reveals some of the features the glasses would offer, which include video chatting, a “view share” feature that allows a person from another computer to see what you see, a camera, and voice-to-text messaging. The demo portrays the glasses as an efficient enhancement to people’s lives that anybody would find useful. However, in reality, Project Glass is just another attempt to promote a product that nobody needs. Google so effectively presents superfluousness as convenience that it begins to look like necessity, and that can be an issue if consumers aren’t conscious of it.

Because of technology, people are already extremely out-of-touch with the real world, and the only thing keeping many from being completely sucked in is the 12 inches of reality that separates their eyes from the phone or the computer. But now, thanks to Google and their space glasses, even that will prove to be powerless against the grasps of electronics.

Driving will become problematic when digital maps ironically obscure vision of the road. Another major issue would be the product’s reliance on voice-to-text functionality, which hasn’t worked in the past.

And what’s the next technological step? Contacts? Imagine the fun that hackers could have with those. Also, privacy, a word that Google should be extremely familiar with by now, would prove to be a major issue with features like the “view share” function mentioned earlier. There are an extremely large amount of obstacles that Google will have to hurdle if they want their smart goggles to become a reality. I would be surprised if Google’s new project turned out a success. The whole concept just seems too risky to work.

These glasses are a telltale sign of ridiculous technology. Somehow, technological corporations have convinced us that their unnecessary products are the “products of the future,” and we need to stay up-to-date with our purchases. However, if Google Glasses become household devices, what we perceive to be reality will undoubtedly change.

Relying on man-made electronics to such a degree is an obvious problem.

Lucas Sepulveda is a creative writing and media production junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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