Rise of the “Glasshero” and Fall of the “Glasshole

By now everyone’s heard of the term “glasshole“. In brief, a glasshole is someone wearing a pair of smart glasses, usually Google Glass (because it’s the most popular) who is disliked by the general public because the device that they’re wearing enables them to record people without their consent.

Also contributing to the term is the perception that Glass wearers are self-absorbed, pretentious, tech-elitists. Many of these perceptions are unfounded  and probably based more off of jealousy than anything else, the same way people automatically assume someone who drives a bright red Ferrari is also an asshole.

The term has become more and more popular as Google Glass becomes mass-marketed and more smart glass begin the process of launching their gadgets. People are cautiously wondering how this brand new technology is going to impact their individual lives, and society as a whole. Instead of just worrying about personal privacy, it’s worth stopping to consider though that perhaps referring to everyone who wears a pair of Google Glasses or other smart glasses as a glasshole is a bit premature and reactionary. Instead, perhaps we should think more about the positive implications widespread use of such wearable tech may entail.

Contrary to the idea of smart glasses being used only to invade personal privacy, there are numerous other positive implications that this technology brings along with its widespread adoption. Perhaps soon in the near future people who use smart glasses to do good things will be referred to as “Glassheros”, the prevailing antithesis to the over-hyped “glasshole”.

Glassheros Already Exist

Smart glasses are already being used for a whole host of constructive activities. For example employees at ticket counters and airlines can have instantaneous access to flight information and live flight updates making traveling for everyone a quicker and more efficient process. A ticket counter agent who can help you find the right flight at the right time for the right price could definitely be considered to be the glasshero.

Even more heroic, some surgeons are finding the use of Google Glass to record and share their surgeries hands-free to be a great tool in teaching others how to perform different operations will maintaining use of their hands. A surgeon who utilizes smart glass technology to further medical science and improve patients lives is also a pretty clear example of a working glasshero.

Imagine a future where emergency technicians and first responders all have eyewear equipped with a notification system to let them know exactly when and where, on the map, someone is in need of medical attention. This system would then allow whichever capable person is closest to the incident to respond immediately in a fashion much quicker than current technologies of mobile phones and radios allow.

Imagine a smart glass app that instead of being a purchased entertainment app is instead an app that can only be earned through medical training or licensure. Anyone licensed with this app would be qualified to attend to someone in an emergency medical situation. Imagine a large portion of the public having the safety certification and this app and being able to respond to anyone in need, wherever he or she may be. Bringing emergency response to the masses is would make the masses glassheros as well.

Glassholes Have Existed Since the Invention of the Mobile Camera.

If you use your imagination it’s easy to see there are many more ways in which a smart glassware could give rise to the common glasshero instead of the ever-present glasshole. The fear of the ubiquitous glasshole seems to be primarily derived from a general apprehension derived from this new technology and the growing concern about photographing and recording the public without the public’s consent.

New technology is always scary, but the more that people try to use and learn about new tech the less they tend to fear it. Inevitably a whole host of new rules, regulations, laws, and “public norms” regarding what is what is not acceptable with smart glasses will arise just as it has for personal cameras, camcorders, and smartphones.

The unfortunate fact is that by living in the 21st-century privacy will never be what it was before the invention of the mobile recording device. Still, we can learn to cope with such technology together to make it beneficial for everyone. Cameras are everywhere and will only become more numerous in the future, so we have to decide how we’re going to regulate and monitor their use if we’re to manage the evolution of mobile tech in a responsible and collectively constructive manner.

Ultimately, it’s this publications belief that the more people get involved with and experiment with smart glasses, and the more useful software and tools are developed to utilize the technology, the less the term glasshole will used in popular culture and the more positive terms will begin to arise, such as the humble and under-discussed glasshero.