FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Through a Google Glass, Darkly

Let me throw out two predictions so obvious that I shouldn’t even have to commit them to print:

1) Within days, if not hours, of  Google Glass‘s release to the general public, hackers will “jailbreak” the hardware, allowing it to run any “Glassware” users desire and can create or find online; and

2) An independent developer community will emerge to create those applications , whether Google wants them to or not.

As a matter of fact, I’ll double down and assert that both of these predictions are already in the process of coming true, even while Glass is in its “Explorer Program” phase, and that Google’s announcements  this week that it won’t allow facial recognition apps or “adult” fare for Glass will only add fuel to the fire.

Porn, of course, is any device’s “killer app.” Enough people want it, and want it badly enough, that they’ll either have it from their devices or get OTHER devices to have it from. Above and beyond the usual — pedestrian porting of dirty pictures to Glass format, just like they were ported from print magazine to computer monitor way back when — I can’t imagine that more than a year will go by before there’s Glassware to predictively, imaginatively, visually undress whomever the user happens to be looking at on the street, on the dance floor, etc.

We don’t have to like it. It’s going to happen whether we like it or not, and whether Google likes it or not.

Similarly, facial recognition is the Glass-specific “killer app.” It’s the one thing that the device is so obviously useful for and that people will so obviously want to use it for that there’s just not going to be any stopping it.

The most benign and universal applications are obvious:

You meet someone, you get his or her name, you say “OK, Glass, this is John Doe.” You’ll never have to worry about forgetting a name again.

You want to introduce two people, but can’t be present. “OK, Glass, send John Doe’s facial profile to Joe Smith, with a message to meet him in the food court at noon.”

And so on, and so forth.

Are there more sinister uses for facial recognition? Of course there are. But facial recognition is coming.

Again: We don’t have to like it. It’s coming whether we like it or not, and whether Google likes it or not.

If by some chance Google is able to effectively darken Glass such that it can’t fulfill users’ desire for porn and facial recognition, then something else will come along with clearer vision. You’ll be able to pick up a Google Glass unit at Dollar Tree, like one of those little headphone-radio sets that people buy because they’re going to the beach and don’t want to risk getting sand in their REAL personal stereos.

The press is filled with nods — from Google itself, and from opponents of facial recognition tech — to something called “privacy.”

But privacy, as David Brin has been pointing out for years, just ain’t what it used to be. Absent complete technological collapse, it’s never going to be what it used to be again. If you show yourself in public, the assistive tech to identify you is going to be available. Period. And soon.

Instead of obsessing over the steady advancement of technology and attempting to thwart its potential at the development level, we should direct our efforts toward abolishing institutions which necessarily and murderously abuse that potential.

Technology is getting cheaper and cheaper, and more and more useful.

Political government is getting more and more expensive and less and less tolerable.

One of the two needs to go. And it’s pretty clear which one.

Thomas L. Knapp is Senior News Analyst at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
February 24, 2020
Stephen Corry
New Deal for Nature: Paying the Emperor to Fence the Wind
M. K. Bhadrakumar
How India’s Modi is Playing on Trump’s Ego to His Advantage
Jennifer Matsui
Tycoon Battle-Bots Battle Bernie
Robert Fisk
There’s Little Chance for Change in Lebanon, Except for More Suffering
Rob Wallace
Connecting the Coronavirus to Agriculture
Bill Spence
Burning the Future: the Growing Anger of Young Australians
Eleanor Eagan
As the Primary Race Heats Up, Candidates Forget Principled Campaign Finance Stands
Binoy Kampmark
The Priorities of General Motors: Ditching Holden
George Wuerthner
Trojan Horse Timber Sales on the Bitterroot
Rick Meis
Public Lands “Collaboration” is Lousy Management
David Swanson
Bloomberg Has Spent Enough to Give a Nickel to Every Person Whose Life He’s Ever Damaged
Peter Cohen
What Tomorrow May Bring: Politics of the People
Peter Harrison
Is It as Impossible to Build Jerusalem as It is to Escape Babylon?
Weekend Edition
February 21, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic
Joshua Frank
Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies
Paul Street
More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist
Jonathan Latham
Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory
Ramzy Baroud
‘The Donald Trump I know’: Abbas’ UN Speech and the Breakdown of Palestinian Politics
Martha Rosenberg
A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked
Ted Rall
Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label
Louis Proyect
Encountering Malcolm X
Kathleen Wallace
The Debate Question That Really Mattered
Jonathan Cook
UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
George Wuerthner
‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole
Colin Todhunter
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis  
Stephen Reyna
A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A New Solar Power Deal From California
Richard Moser
One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way
Laiken Jordahl
Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect
Walden Bello
Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change
Jefferson Morley
On JFK, Tulsi Gabbard Keeps Very Respectable Company
Vijay Prashad
Standing Up for Left Literature: In India, It Can Cost You Your Life
Gary Leupp
Bloomberg Versus Bernie: The Upcoming Battle?
Ron Jacobs
The Young Lords: Luchadores Para La Gente
Richard Klin
Loss Leaders
Gaither Stewart
Roma: How Romans Differ From Europeans
Kerron Ó Luain
The Soviet Century
Mike Garrity
We Can Fireproof Homes But Not Forests
Fred Baumgarten
Gaslighting Bernie and His Supporters
Joseph Essertier
Our First Amendment or Our Empire, But Not Both
Peter Linebaugh
A Story for the Anthropocene
Danny Sjursen
Where Have You Gone Smedley Butler?
Jill Richardson
A Broken Promise to Teachers and Nonprofit Workers
Binoy Kampmark
“Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail