Google Glass or “ogle” glass?

The notion of being filmed without knowledge of it happening is enough to make most uncomfortable. This could be something that becomes increasingly more common with the rapid development of smart glasses such as google glass. The increase in smart glasses technology is allowing manufactures to produce glasses that are sleeker and unnoticeable to the public. This poses many ethical issues regarding privacy and safety. In this article, we will be looking at the positives and negatives of smart glasses.


Advantages of Google Glass

Utilitarianism is a principle where an action is considered to be morally right if it provides the greatest number of happiness for the greatest number of people. It measures a consequence of an action against one value including human satisfaction, happiness or well-being. From a utilitarian perspective, the company which exploits Google Glass into their industry would be able to save over a billion dollars in the next three to five years.

It is thought that the tool will be widely commercialised on a large scale for public usage within 10 years. Many significant impacts are expected from this upcoming technology especially in manufacturing industries where the glasses could virtually assist new employees when performing tasks. This could open opportunities to partially replace on-site training with virtual training by utilising the device.

The principle of utility can be applied when using smart glasses to assist communication where an effective interaction would ordinarily be prevented due to language proficiencies. This particular matter urges the invention of smart glasses where it can translate a foreign conversation and suggest an appropriate response in the same language. This would be extremely useful when traveling to a foreign country.

Kantian theory stresses that any rational person should be capable of judging one’s action whether it is morally correct or not through reasoning. In 2008, It has been reported that satellite navigation system causes up to 300,000 accidents in Britain. Navigation apps such as Google Maps and Waze can incite similar tragedy due to the drivers performing sudden manoeuvres or changing direction recklessly when following the devices’ directions. The action of using online navigation which causes a catastrophe is not morally acceptable as it leads to death and property losses. However, the online navigation user should be held accountable for their carelessness instead of blaming the tool.

With the visual navigation system feature integrated into smart glasses, the navigation system is considered much safer. Not only the drivers do not need to take their eyes off the road if they need directions but the headset will also tell the user precisely which street to turn on, in addition, to displaying a map of your surroundings right in front of your face, hence reducing the number of accidents due to online navigation. Furthermore, users of smart glasses could replay footage of accidents and other crimes they may have witnessed to prove their innocence if required. This could prove to be a large step towards making society safer.


Disadvantages of Google Glass

The main ethical problems for smart glasses arise from issues involving the privacy and safety concerns. Members of the public that are being filmed by wearers of smart glasses could feel uncomfortable and not consent with this. They may not even be aware that they are being filmed due to being unable to identify the difference between regular and smart glasses in many cases. Therefore, smart glasses could be considered an invasion of privacy to the public.

Some of the safety concerns about smart glasses include the possibility of wearers recording confidential information of others without them knowing. This could then potentially lead to identity crime or fraud if the wearer made use of the information they had recorded. The wearers themselves could also be at risk if the device was hacked or stolen. The information obtained from a “first person view” of; where they store their car keys, their pin codes, their home address etc. are now vulnerable. The hackers/thief could then use this information to target the wearers by blackmailing them.

Users of smart glasses may experience difficulties in social interactions when they are filming due to making people uneasy and awkward about being filmed. We feel that the user has an ethical responsibility to inform the person they are talking to that they are being filmed. However, there’s no guarantee that every user will abide by the Kantian theory and have the same feeling of obligation to do what is sensible thus disagreeing with the freedom principle.

At the time of writing, companies are continuing to develop smart glasses and some of the features are of concern. If the developers decided to develop smart glasses with some feature restrictions, we feel they could be successful but that leaves the question of who is going to decide on the restrictions? This would then pose new questions as the potential customers may no longer be interested in purchasing smart glasses and ultimately, smart glasses could be labelled unsuccessful for the manufacturers and end up as a failure.

Due to smart glasses being a desire rather than a necessity and the prediction that only a few people will be able to afford it, should we satisfy the minorities happiness by sacrificing the majorities need for safety and privacy? Hence, defying utilitarianism. From common sense, the potential of misusing the technology is high so could pose a risk to members of society and questions whether society would benefit much from the development of smart glasses considering the wide array of technology in the market that is already on offer.

Overall there are negatives and positives in the advancement of smart glasses technology. Taking a utilitarianism approach to the ethical issue of smart glasses would suggest that the privacy and safety issues of the masses could outweigh the potential positives of smart glasses. A Kantian view would be that if all the users used their smart glasses as intended in a morally appropriate way then there should not be an issue.

Group 52: Wan Zanhir, Ahmad, Hamdan, Sani, Ben Dale

27 thoughts on “Google Glass or “ogle” glass?

  1. This could change the way we used to operate a device especially when talking about augmented reality application. There is a lot of things that is yet to be discovered​ that might be a game changer and benefits us all. Finding a way to prevent issues regarding privacy​ and safety of the users might be the best bet.


  2. I personally am not a huge fan of such devices being in the public – the last thing we need is another layer of technology acting as a social barrier between ourselves and those around us. That said, you raise some interesting points on the potential use of these glasses and the problems that may arise as they grow in popularity.


  3. These glasses look perfect for learning the wants and desires of my subjects. One concern however is how traceable my actions will be back to me. Being traced is a huge concern of mine


  4. These may look good for ocular patdowns but unless they’re tinted I feel like people would be able to see how scared I am


  5. Little fat man who sold his soul
    Little fat man who sold his dream
    Chubby little loser
    National joke
    Pathetic little fat man
    No one’s bloody laughing
    The clown that no one laughs at
    They all just wish he’d die
    He’s so depressed at being hated
    Fatso takes his own life
    He blows his stupid brains out
    He sold his soul for a shot at fame
    Catchphrase and wig and the jokes are lame
    He’s got no style, he’s got no grace
    He’s benign and facile, he’s a fat waste of space
    See his pug-nosed face
    Pug, pug, pug, pug
    The little fat man with a pug-nosed face
    Little fat man, pug-nosed face
    He’s a little fat man, pug-nosed face.”


  6. If you need someone to model these glasses for you I’m your girl, I look twice as good as that bimbo in the photo and I’m funny (I’m also a comedian)


  7. Google have got this all wrong. If they are going to have a google glass it should be a glass you drink from with ‘Google’ written on the side. This would be much more beneficial to society. #wengerout


  8. Just more technology the government will eventually use against us as a form of constant surveillance. Google glass is the first step to an orwellian future, a future where we will all be powerless to stop the leviathan government having complete control over us. Google glass should be tossed into the fires of mount doom at once, to prevent the spread of evil.


  9. Interesting topic! In this era, everything is unsafe when it is easily accessable. So eventho it is the main issue with the device, however we try to secure information, it will always get exposed. Maybe putting a security code or id on specific devices or user is one of the way to minimise the problem.


  10. I think this is a violation of privacy, How can we possibly try to prevent crime when these make it some much easier to see peoples pin numbers for example. Why should anyone have the right to record you without consent?
    Equally I understand that this would be a major development in technology, education and the way we live day to day but I believe the negatives far outweigh these positives.


  11. Wonder if anyone has thought of including a little light that turns on when the camera is in use and makes it more obvious for people to know when they’re being filmed?
    Just a thought. I can see the practical implications of this technology in foreign travel especially and in an ideal world we would be able to trust everyone to not use them for malicious purposes but, unfortunately, I don’t think the Kantian Theory will uphold in today’s society.


  12. I think these are so cool! how incredible to be able to translate a language and understand it straight away! What an advancement in the word! Jolly good!


  13. Personally I don’t really see the point in this and think it’s just another way of Google and big corporations to sponge money out of new technologies that aren’t needed and the world can cope without.

    However, I enjoyed reading your article and it did provide some thought-provoking insight into both perspectives of Google Glass. I may go and look into this further myself and explore more of the potential benefits and positive implications it may have on our day to day lives.


  14. I don’t understand the point. This would cost billions of pounds to develop- when there are still so many people suffering in the world due to stark poverty, how can we permit something so costly to occur when it would have little or no benefit to the life we lead but the cost could drastically change the lives of millions of people?? Why does the advancement in our lives in the developed world take priority over others being able to have assess to basic human rights and resources?? How ridiculous??!!!!!


  15. Technological advancement for advancements sake is not advancement but simply a way for us all to comply to societies expectation of the ‘norm’ and the cost we shall therefore pay we be both physically and mentally..


  16. Has anyone even considered the catastrophic effect this could have on our brains?? The use of mobile phones have already seen a major increase in the rates of brain tumours, if this is happening to our brains what will happen to our eyes???


  17. Great article, good reading materials for knowledge and application.

    Well articulated and presented and covered most aspects.


  18. Well done to writers to be able to present and explain the topic form both sides, positives as well as negatives.

    Excellent writings.


  19. Thanks guys good article I personally don’t want to see these kind of glasses in society. Technology has gone too far already we really don’t need anything else for people to become obsessed with. What’s wrong with just enjoying the world without the constant need for smart tech…people managed with out all this stuff in the old days maybe we should try again now?
    The only advantage of them for me is people will be looking up through their glasses rather than down at their phones….silver linings.


  20. I feel that in order for this advancement in technology to become ethically acceptable, there must be clarity in the difference between normal and smart glasses. As discussed, issues regarding the recording of unaware members of the public could have huge implications regarding the breach of personal privacy, and is a definitive issue with Smart Glasses. That being said, with the ability to break language barriers and provide business’ with cutting edge equipment to increase their development and growth, it is still a technology very much worth developing.


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