Now that Google Glass has officially established itself as the newest buzzy gadget, a backlash is brewing, uniting the technophobic and privacy-obsessed to form an anti-cyborg movement.
A new site, called “Stop the Cyborgs,” wants to help organize those who want to “save humanity from the cyber collective.” They see Google Glass less like a cool way to livestream footage of yourself sky diving and more like the beginning of a violent Borg-like empire. Sorry, Sergey!
The creators also call Google Glasses’ ability to seamlessly record footage (without ever notifying the subject) a major threat to privacy. Can’t really blame them there. We’re also uneasy about mainstreaming creepshots!
But the campaigners take their rhetoric a step further, warning of “serious consequences” for humanity as we lose our ability to distinguish between the digital and the real:
“People will make decisions and interact with other humans in the real world in a way which increasingly depends on information that Google Glass tells them.”
In the end, all that’s left is a Philip K. Dick-style dystopia:
“Gradually people will stop acting as autonomous individuals, when making decisions and interacting with others, and instead become mere sensor/effector nodes of a global network. There will be no room for multiple identities, hypocrisy or experimentation. There will be no space in which you can escape your online profile and the system will be controlled by a small group of corporations.”
Scared shitless yet? Good: The organization has a few recommendations for things you can do now to push back against the borg threat of tomorrow.
Start by making your property a “surveillance device free zone,” like that bar in Seattle. They’ve even provided a sign for you to print off! You could also write your Congressman, start a consciousness-raising group or, if you’re liberal artsy, “think about how you could approach the issue in art.”
Then again, maybe all this alarmism is just a touch overblown. Nestled amid the fear-mongering is a disclaimer: “Please note that Google has not yet officially released the details of how Google Glass will work so the above is educated speculation based on public press articles.”
At any rate, the backlash-to-the-backlash should start any day now, so go ahead and cyber-squat on any domains relevant to human rights activism while we’re still human.