So by now you’ve all heard Facebook’s plans to replace the smartphone with a camera app for specialized glasses similar to Microsoft’s holo-glasses. While I’m all for progress that empowers people without compromising their security or dignity, this idea and how it will be implemented gave me room for pause. Let’s count the ways that this is a bad idea.
- RADIATION – with deregulation being the name of the game, and the mega-corporations penchant for making things cheaply at the public’s expense, I’m not sure there will be any oversight into how much radiation will be absorbed into a person’s frontal lobe while wearing these glasses. We are talking about a direct stream of data, minute by minute to your face and a very high bandwith. There has been very little talk about the connection between cancer and smartphone/cellphone usage but you can purchase anti-radiation cases for your smartphone. It will be interesting to see if the manufacturer’s even address this issue or wait 20 years until people start to die off and claim ignorance.
- DOUBLE VISION – We’ve already been made aware of how viewers were manipulated during the election and how they are continuously victimized by companies who use browser prejudice to reward some consumers and punish others by displaying information to whom they deem worthy and not worthy. Now imagine that power in an augmented reality setting. With the decades worth of data that corporations have been compiling (and selling) on citizens they will be able to manufacture reality in real time specific to the consumer; likes, dislikes, sales, discounts… and falsehoods. Which brings me to number three…
- REALTIME NEGATIVE FEEDBACK – With facial recognition getting better by the day, the potential to reinforce negative stereotypes, in real time are frightening. Imagine wearing the Camera App glasses, seeing someone who is “different” from you and in just a blink of an eye, faster than you can register, a negative image is overlaid into your vision. You would be confused and wary of the person and wouldn’t know why – but the foundation for this kind of negative feedback would be laid.
Doom and gloom? I don’t think so. This tech roadmap is coming from a company that routinely abuses its trust with its customers, and is run by an executive who, claims he is all about “transparency”, yet sues his neighbors to acquire more land in an effort to attain more privacy. Go figure. And if in ten years the tech does become available, read the fine print. You may be giving up more than just your smartphone.