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Sergey Brin Says Using a Smartphone Is 'Emasculating' 325

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-are-not-the-things-you-own dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While speaking at the TED Conference in California earlier today, Sergey Brin seemingly tried to set the stage for a world where using Google Glass is as normal as using a smartphone. What's more, Brin went so far as to say that using smartphones is 'emasculating.' Brin said that smartphone users often seclude themselves in their own private virtual worlds. 'Is this the way you're meant to interact with other people,' Brin asked. Are people in the future destined to communicate via just walking around, looking down, and 'rubbing a featureless piece of glass,' Brin asked rhetorically. 'It's kind of emasculating. Is this what you're meant to do with your body?' Is wearing futuristic glasses any better?" Another reader sends in an article that also muses on our psychological connection to our devices. Or, as he puts it, the "increasingly weird and perhaps overly intimate relationship we have with our gadgets; the fist we touch when awake, the last at night. Our minds have become bookended by glass."
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Sergey Brin Says Using a Smartphone Is 'Emasculating'

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  • Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:00AM (#43031439)

    This is vs staring into some one's face while you ignore them while reading something off your glasses?

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

      by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:21AM (#43031523) Homepage

      Or trying to hold a conversation with someone who's ignoring you and reading Slashdot on their glasses?

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597) <.delirium-slashdot. .at. .hackish.org.> on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:03AM (#43031883)

      The inability to even tell if they're looking at you is particularly weird. I had a meeting with this guy [gatech.edu] as a student 8 or 10 years ago or so, when he was wearing a heads-up display attached to a computer he kept sort of slung over his shoulder, with a one-handed chording keyboard on the outside of it. It seemed interesting tech-wise, definitely at the time, when it was all DIY'd. But it was slightly weird always being unsure when he was looking through his glasses at me, and when he was looking at his glasses reading the web or something. At least with a smartphone or laptop you can see people look down and look up.

    • This is vs staring into some one's face while you ignore them while reading something off your glasses?

      Well, presuming dual-sided displays, wouldn't it be possible to assign a profile to the publicly-facing side of your AR gear that maps a display of feigned interest where your eye-balls are supposed to be while you are surfing pr0n? Hell, add a discreet speaker and an Eliza clone running in the background to reinforce the illusion of interest by simulating a conversation, and suddenly, we are freed from the obnoxious burden of one-sided socialization when we'd rather be doing something else.

  • by Press2ToContinue (2424598) * on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:02AM (#43031451)

    I don't know about Brin, but my e-masculinity is e-normous. Bookends help hold it all in.

  • by bobstreo (1320787) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:10AM (#43031481)

    The size of your screen?

    • by G3E9 (2740699)
      It's not how big your screen is, it's how you use it!
    • The size of your screen?

      Some screens are larger than others.

      • by dbIII (701233)
        And when that's not large enough there is apparently "the fist we touch when awake".
  • by Anonymous Coward

    these glasses are going nowhere. They look stupid so they are dead on arrival. Furthermore, they only appeal to the part of the population that already wears glasses.

    The hype over these nerd glasses couldn't more clearly illustrate how out of touch dorks are with regular people.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, how dare a tech company experiment with wearable interfaces, and what the fuck is this news even doing on this site??? It's obviously not commercially viable, so it's of interest to NOBODY around here.

    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:50AM (#43031651)

      these glasses are going nowhere. They look stupid so they are dead on arrival. Furthermore, they only appeal to the part of the population that already wears glasses.

      The hype over these nerd glasses couldn't more clearly illustrate how out of touch dorks are with regular people.

      There are several problems. If you want to talk about Glass as enabling face to face human interaction, you'll find most people won't want a camera shoved into their face. Secondly, most people will probably notice your eyes darting about so they know you're not paying attention to them, and once that happens, they'll never believe you're paying attention unless you take the damn things off.

      But I'm sure you'll find a lot of people "encouraged" to wear the glasses because they ARE a portable camera that basically records 24/7. While useful to catching crooks because basically the entire public space is under surveillance all the time, and anyone who stands out will probably have multiple cameras trained on them, they also have the downside of well, everything you do would be recorded. So if you visit any sort of morally questionable establishment, it'll be recorded.

      And of course, with Google Goggles, it'll all be tagged for easy searching.

      • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:43AM (#43031835)
        When Sol Trujillo was running Australia's Telstra (running it into the ground, but that's another story), he had his sales employees wear recording devices around their necks so that management could replay what the sales staff did each day. It was excused as being commonplace in the USA, and after hearing about how HP employees were bugged for all I know it may be true. I can see management with an almost slave owner attitude being attracted to such devices.
      • by jma05 (897351) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @04:31AM (#43032217)

        > you'll find most people won't want a camera shoved into their face

        This is worse than 1984. In Oceania, one at least knew where the cameras were and could at-least try to avoid them.

        > basically the entire public space is under surveillance all the time

        Reminds one of the scene in The Matrix, where Neo is identified when the avatar of a homeless guy just sees him. So long privacy. It was nice knowing you.

        Other thoughts...
        - Google will agree to not track or store (less likely) faces unless consented to... sort of like Google Maps blanking faces
        - Allow friends to follow you... literally, as you get detected by the crowd cams (why not? for some reason, people already let their online lives tracked by social media)
        - Subscribe to FBI's most wanted list, local missing people.

        • > This is worse than 1984. In Oceania, one at least knew where the cameras were and could at-least try to avoid them.

          Have you read 1984 recently? A huge part of the plot revolves around the protagonist thinking he was safe when he was in fact being watched on camera the entire time.

        • This is worse than 1984. In Oceania, one at least knew where the cameras were and could at-least try to avoid them.

          You're right. Perhaps we should boycott them. Refuse to interact with anyone in front of use that's wearing one, unless they take it off. Refuse to accept phone calls from anyone that's using one as their phone etc. Just make the damn things unacceptable right from the start.

    • Furthermore, they only appeal to the part of the population that already wears glasses.

      They don't appeal to me because I do wear glasses. As far as I'm aware, you can't wear Google's goggles and your glasses at the same time, unless they plan to sell it as prescription glasses as well.

    • by mcrbids (148650) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:04AM (#43031709) Journal

      Based on the fact that the primary (and really, ONLY) interface to Google glass is voice recognition, and given my experiences with voice recognition using the latest (or at lesast recent, Android 4.1) technology Google has for voice recognition, Google Glass is their Apple Newton.

      The tech, it just ain't ready yet. I carefully enunciate: "Send Text to Kathy (pause) I think the problem is Becky, who wants to cancel Robert's plan"

      A few beeps later...

      "Sending text to Becky, The problem is Becky who wants to cancel Robert's plan".

      Yeah, the example sorta sucks, but this pretty much happened to me when I decided to trust the text to speech for texting. It was almost a complete interpersonal disaster. It's good, but it's just not good enough. And given that text to speech has been "almost" good enough for at least 20 years [wikipedia.org], I'm not expecting it to improve any time soon until semantic understanding is part of the mix. (Watson: I'm looking at you.... [ibm.com])

      In response I like to send random sounding texts to family members like "Happy birth tazer ahh" just to see the response, to which I can reply: "Stupid voice to text, happy birthday Sarah!"..

      • How bad does text to speech suck in comparison to voice to ear? A simple game of telephone [wikipedia.org] shows that people probably miss a very large amount of what they hear, but have learned to compensate by not acting on what they hear as quickly or decisively as what they see. How many times have you verbally told someone to do something and later found out they did the wrong thing? How many times has someone told you to do something and you only really figured it out later when taking in other information on the sit

    • these glasses are going nowhere. They look stupid so they are dead on arrival. Furthermore, they only appeal to the part of the population that already wears glasses.

      The hype over these nerd glasses couldn't more clearly illustrate how out of touch dorks are with regular people.

      Google Glass will probably end up being used by the same crowd that uses Bluetooth headsets in public for their phones, and probably with the same lack of regard for other people during use

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:15AM (#43031497)

    There are a number of things you can say about a smartphone, but - emasculating? Seriously? Out of what orifice did he pull THAT?

    Is Brin worried that Glasses are going to be another Q?

    • by c0lo (1497653) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:18AM (#43031513)
      Emasculation [wikipedia.org]

      Emasculation is the removal of the genitalia of a male, both the penis and the testicles. Removal of the testicles alone is castration.
      By extension, the word has also come to mean to render a male less of a man, or to make a male feel less of a man by humiliation.

      Women should be safe from the effect of smart phones

      (yes, I understand that the most metaphorical sense would imply weakening in a generalized sexless sense. However... think how well the following expression sounds to you: she felt emasculated by...)

      • by JanneM (7445)

        think how well the following expression sounds to you: she felt emasculated by...

        Really, it doesn't sound strange to me at all. I'm even a bit surprised; had you asked me without typing out the example I would have said it doesn't work.

        I guess perhaps the gender-role divisions just aren't as strong today as they used to be. Most role models and most regular men you see and meet every day aren't particularly masculine in the traditional sense; if anything, brawn, machismo and physical strength seems a bit a

        • by c0lo (1497653)

          Most role models and most regular men you see and meet every day aren't particularly masculine in the traditional sense; if anything, brawn, machismo and physical strength seems a bit anachronistic and a bit negative, much like smoking has become.

          One wonders: is this why the movie industry pushes violent movies one after the other - the "Die hard" kind? (i.e. only as a palliative for the today's boys/men venting frustration?)

      • by Moridineas (213502) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:02AM (#43031703) Journal

        You're being hysterical [wikipedia.org].

        For at least two thousand years of European history until the late nineteenth century hysteria referred to a medical condition thought to be particular to women and caused by disturbances of the uterus (from the Greek "hystera" = uterus)

        OR ARE YOU??

      • Emasculation [wikipedia.org]

        Emasculation is the removal of the genitalia of a male, both the penis and the testicles. Removal of the testicles alone is castration. By extension, the word has also come to mean to render a male less of a man, or to make a male feel less of a man by humiliation.

        Women should be safe from the effect of smart phones

        (yes, I understand that the most metaphorical sense would imply weakening in a generalized sexless sense. However... think how well the following expression sounds to you: she felt emasculated by...)

        Well, considering the context in which it was used (A TED conference) it is unlikely it was misapplied to more than about 10 percent of the audience...an error rate that I find entirely acceptable.

    • Out of what orifice did he pull THAT?

      Nostril I think.

    • by gnoshi (314933)

      There are a number of things you can say about a smartphone, but - emasculating? Seriously? Out of what orifice did he pull THAT?

      The messy one left behind after too much smartphone time.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      There are a number of things you can say about a smartphone, but - emasculating? Seriously? Out of what orifice did he pull THAT?

      maybe understandable from the perspective of Brin's culture at origins [wikipedia.org] (even if I find hard to accept it):

      Brin immigrated to the United States with his family from the Soviet Union at the age of six.

      (don't give me the shit with "but he get is education in US". First at all, a good part of the culture comes from the family - I guarantee you even now the Russians have a "man rules" type of culture - just look at Putin. Second... is US better in this regard? E.g. ever wonder how long ago slapping a woman was acceptable as a movie scene? Do you remember "The Man with the Golden Gun" (1974)? What about

      • by nabsltd (1313397)

        E.g. ever wonder how long ago slapping a woman was acceptable as a movie scene? Do you remember "The Man with the Golden Gun" (1974)? What about the "Airplane!" (1980)?)

        Even today, slapping a woman is quite acceptable when done for comedic effect, as in Airplane!, so I don't think that's a good example.

      • Give me a break. I was born in the USSR myself, but lived twice as long there than Brin before moving to Germany. Even if I try hard, I am barely a Russian, even though I speak almost without an accent.

        My sister is four years younger and tries much harder, but she is not a Russian either. She cannot even speak Russian properly.

        That is beside that your "argumentum ad Putinum" falls flat in the light of the fact, that in modern Russia the gender issue is waaaaaaaaay worse than it was in Soviet times - back th

        • by c0lo (1497653)

          To be clear, to be clear...

          I never said that the Russian culture says the women can be slapped (ironically enough, my example of "slapping as an acceptable behavior" used US).

          What I implied is that Russian people are more likely to display a patriarchal type of attitude than the "western" culture. You know: the image of the man as the head of the family, expected to be strong and all that... and any kind of weakness is to be associated with "not being man enough"; this is how I inferred a possible explanat

    • Ever notice how emasculate and effeminate are essentially synonyms? Weird.

      • by ls671 (1122017)

        It comes from latin: emasculare

        The literal meaning is: chopping the balls off a male.

    • There are a number of things you can say about a smartphone, but - emasculating?

      Consider it a preemptive strike in the age old editor wars before someone accuses Google Glasses of violating privacy.

  • the fist we touch when awake, the last at night

    Hmm, so you're into fisting are you?

    By the way, most smartphones have a spellchecker. Maybe /. editors could use them to post articles...

  • Reverse marketing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cachimaster (127194) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:20AM (#43031519)

    IMHO even if Glass is clearly the superior device, it makes you look like a dork/nerd.
    There is no way to change that until they look like regular glasses. Until then, all you can do is attack your main competitor, the smarthpone, or it will go the way of the segway.

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:22AM (#43031527)
    The two founders of RIM suffered from Founder's Syndrome and now it seems that it has spread to Google. Don't insult your potential customers deliberately. Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie drove their company to ruin by ignoring the competition and insulting/ignoring potential customers.

    Sergey, you should leave the marketing to professionals in your organization. You can be the "vision" guy but don't trying to create the narrative for your company. You are not Steve Jobs.

    Steve Jobs was the founder of Apple and the CEO until recently but he had some qualities that are unfortunately uncommon among tech industry CEOs. He knew how to "think" like the common man and figure out what the common man wanted before he knew that he wanted it. He also had a sense of taste and an extreme attention to detail to help his company "polish" their products.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mr. Slippery (47854)

      He knew how to "think" like the common man and figure out what the common man wanted before he knew that he wanted it.

      Jobs knew how to manipulate people into wanting what he had to sell them. He was an excellent salesman.

      He also had a sense of taste...

      I guess a bad sense is still a sense, so, ok.

      • by Moridineas (213502) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:05AM (#43031711) Journal

        Jobs knew how to manipulate people into wanting what he had to sell them. He was an excellent salesman.

        He was an excellent salesman, certainly fallible, and with a well-earned reputation for his RDF. However, he did a damn good job of knowing what people did want!

        I guess a bad sense is still a sense, so, ok.

        So if you're saying Jobs had a bad sense of taste, yours--by comparison--is better? Why should we believe you? The corpus of Jobs' legacy is in front of us.

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          Maybe if he did, he could have gotten more than 12% market share for his desktop systems.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Considering there is no accounting for taste, the "corpus of his legacy" is not evidence of his good taste. Why should we believe anybody who says Jobs had good taste? Such a statement would inherently depend on the taste of the person making that statement.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Dr. Evil (3501)

          For much of his life, he was out of touch with reality, producing expensive, overdesigned, underperforming computers. He nearly killed Apple before he was fired, and failed spectacularly with NeXT. Eventually he found a talent for creating markets in new breeds of consumer electronics.

          Jobs was mostly a dreamer and goof for all but the last 10 years of his life. We mostly only think about his most successful ideas... because they were successful.

        • by dkf (304284)

          However, he did a damn good job of knowing what people did want!

          Moreover, he was excellent at knowing what people would want, and not just what they were saying they wanted at the time. That's a rare skill; most folks only desire the things that they actually know, and most management and market research can't look past that. The effect of this was that he was often the first in a particular market to make a really successful product, and Apple's mega-profits stemmed from that.

          Jobs was still an asshole and a salesman with a massive RDF though.

        • by epine (68316)

          He was an excellent salesman, certainly fallible, and with a well-earned reputation for his RDF. However, he did a damn good job of knowing what people did want!

          That Steve "knew what people wanted" is practically exhibit A concerning his RDF.

          With the original Mac, he provided a vision of what computing might soon become, well before it was actually usable for anything serious. I had the original fat Mac and briefly tried to develop on it. My compiler required heavy use of the second floppy disk drive and

      • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:56AM (#43032087)

        He knew how to "think" like the common man and figure out what the common man wanted before he knew that he wanted it.

        Jobs knew how to manipulate people into wanting what he had to sell them. He was an excellent salesman.

        Interesting but even an excellent salesman still needs something compelling to "sell". By using your logic, Apple should have failed a long time ago if what Jobs was selling was not compelling. If you look at the history of Apple since Jobs returned and retooled their product line, Apple has had mostly a series of hits on their hands. There have been a few stinkers like the iPod Boom box and iPod socks but mostly hits. Are you trying to tell all of us that all of those sales were the result of a "sales job" by Jobs? Really? If the products were so mediocre, why was everyone slavishly copying them in every category that was successful?

        He also had a sense of taste...

        I guess a bad sense is still a sense, so, ok.

        Ok, so you have evidence to back up this assertion? You can hate their products if you want but you will have a bit of trouble arguing with their string of successes.

    • by Belial6 (794905)

      He knew how to "think" like the common man and figure out what the common man wanted before he knew that he wanted it.

      A common trait of a con. Make the mark think it was their idea.

      • He knew how to "think" like the common man and figure out what the common man wanted before he knew that he wanted it.

        A common trait of a con. Make the mark think it was their idea.

        Right, the problem with you analogy is that people catch onto a con and they are not selling actual products that people love to use. I'm sorry if you are offended by the fact that Apple seems to have a high rate of repeat customers rather than returns. Just because you don't like their products it does not mean that they don't provide value and enjoyment for other people.

        What are you exactly trying to say? Are you saying that the products were not functional? Are you suggesting that people did not remain

  • Yes, looking at a smartphone while doing something else makes you look like a dweeb. Hanging the screen in front of your face won't help.

  • by Tough Love (215404) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:24AM (#43031543)

    Sergey just doesn't get it. My Android phone is a big swinging phallic symbol, especially when it does those 3D maps.... iPhone toting hipster chicks never fail to notice. Got plenty of mileage out of that, opposite sex wise. Sergey just doesn't know how to hold it.

  • Emasculating? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Warhawke (1312723) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:41AM (#43031617)

    You keep on using that word... I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Seriously, does he legitimately expect that I'm going to suddenly ditch my phone and throw the contents of my wallet at him for a product that makes Navin's Opti-Grab look stylish simply because he's calling me and one-seventh of the human population -- including women -- castrated girly-men?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:48AM (#43031641)

    This "Joy of Tech" cartoon explains what will really happen with Google glasses:

    The Reality of Google Glasses [tapastic.com]

  • by mbone (558574) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @01:48AM (#43031645)

    For me, he is well past his sell-by date. Can't he buy some remote island and cocoon there?

  • by n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:03AM (#43031707) Homepage Journal

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=v1uyQZNg2vE [youtube.com]

    read the well stylized article::

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/22/4013406/i-used-google-glass-its-the-future-with-monthly-updates [theverge.com]

    To me it looks like it could revolutionize.
    I could never get into smart phones, but this sounds way more of what I would consider "virtual reality". What I pictured in the 80s and 90s of that anyways. Its not lawnmower man, you are there in the real world. Altered states of reality.

  • It's more helpful if, in the parent article, you replace "interact with other people" with "view advertisements".

  • I use "OSMpad" on "iPhone" for mapping for the wiki-style "OpenStreetMap". So it is a precise GPS enabled data input tool. How can I do in with glasses?

    If I can, I do not mind. Because every time I have to stop bicycle, take out iPhone, map a building or another structure, put back smartphone into the pocket, and so on.
  • by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:53AM (#43031861)

    Touching an inanimate object made of glass and plastic each morning and night is nothing new -- well before the days of smart phones (or even cell phones at all), I used to have a manual alarm clock that I'd have to set each night and turn off each morning. So this "strange intimacy" with our gadgets has been going on for 50 years or more.

    Since it was a 12 hour clock, it wasn't possible to reset the alarm when it went off at 7am in the morning or else it would go off again at 7pm, so one had to set it each night.

    Now my smartphone is my alarm, and it's better in that I don't have to set it at night, but it's still the first thing I touch in the morning since I have to stop the alarm.

  • Only on my own terms (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tftp (111690) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:54AM (#43031865) Homepage

    I might buy the Glass, but only if the device connects only to my computers and does only what I want. In effect, it would be a convenient HUD, not a service. Not a bit would go outside of my LAN.

    In most cases, though, I don't quite feel the need to have one on. Do I need to wear a monitor in front of me? Do I need to threaten everyone with recording of all their activities, public and semi-public? My life does not revolve around constant communication; there is specific time and place for that. The employer will probably also be not very happy that you can watch movies and read Slashdot all day long without anyone knowing it. The police will be joyful to learn that a Glass owner can see not just the road but also his email and chat - and there is no way to prove it one way or another.

  • I see glass as a military device more than anything right now. A simple HUD with the locations of allies overlaid on an aerial map, plus features such as IR camera and text commands. The key feature that makes glass so useful in such an instance is its hands-free nature. This would apply anywhere you are using both hands. The problem is that for most civilians it is not such a hassle to take your phone out.
  • by Max_W (812974) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:27AM (#43031971)
    It could be an equivalent of a car dashboard camera but for cycling. Cyclists wear glasses anyway to prevent mosquitoes getting into the eyes.

    Permanent recording could be a safety feature for cyclists. It would make road hooligans less enthusiastic as an HD video of an accident could be played later in a judicial assembly.
  • I have always thought that male smartphone users looked feminine. When they're in public, out of touch with what's around them, and pawing at this little thing, yeah, it doesn't give the impression that this is an alert dude that's ready to deal with the world around him. Especially when you imagine that he's looking at facebook or something.

    I know that there's nothing good or bad about being feminine or not, whether or not you have testicles, but being a guy, I am kind of image conscious about how I use m

  • by wickerprints (1094741) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:59AM (#43032101)

    That Mr. Brin doesn't seem to understand the difference between the two words is not a good sign that he has carefully considered the point he wishes to make.

    Do mobile devices (not just smartphones) have the potential to make face-to-face interaction less likely or desirable? Sure. Where we once needed to actually be in immediate proximity to another individual in order to sustain a meaningful dialogue or communication with them, we now have the convenience of tweeting them or posting something on their (heaven forbid) Facebook wall. We can text them, even if they are halfway around the globe. Does this necessarily decrease the quality of interaction? The most honest answer I can furnish is that it depends.

    Throughout history, humans have been devising ways to make communication easier. We invented written languages, books, telegraphy, telephony, television, and the internet. We did all these things because we found it facilitated connection. Does it mean that when the telephone was invented, people started to lament that telephones were "emasculating" (sic) because they made it possible to talk to someone without being physically in the same room? That's an absurdly regressive, not to mention historically and technologically naive, view. It borders on sophistry.

    Let's be clear that over-reliance on smartphones and mobile connectivity, to the point of eschewing physical interaction, is a definite phenomenon. I don't want anyone to get the impression that I'm an apologist for all the spoiled teens whose interactions with their peers is primarily through virtual, rather than real, means--and rack up the bills to show for it. Or that I'm excusing full-grown adults who insist on checking their feeds every 5 minutes, who can't be bothered to put their phones down for a real-life conversation in the flesh. But it is painfully obvious that Mr. Brin has an agenda here, which is to sell his company's glasses as the solution to this problem. As such, whatever legitimate criticisms he has lacks credibility because of his bias.

    Moreover, there's another problem with Mr. Brin's accusations, and that is the unspoken assumption that these glasses *must* be an improvement. That is a claim that remains to be seen, because it isn't at all obvious. I, for one, would be very uneasy at the prospect of living in a society whose members are constantly recording each others' movements and activities. I suppose Mr. Brin (and Google) takes the attitude that we will simply become accustomed to this omnipresent surveillance, but I think that it is an entirely legitimate question to ask why we as a society SHOULD move in this direction in the first place. Thus far I have not seen any compelling rationale to do so.

    In summary, I am distrustful of anyone who advocates for a new technology as a solution to a problem that is largely symptomatic of cultural attitudes and a lack of etiquette. Don't want your mobile devices to turn your social life into a virtual experience? The answer is not to buy the next fancy gadget, be it some silly-looking headwear or something yet to be invented, but to simply make the conscious decision to be a better person by interacting in person. And similarly there is a point at which a society needs to collectively decide for itself that it is better to experience the world first-hand, rather than through a handheld electronic device. To the extent that such a device facilitates that goal, the more power to it. That is the reason for technology--to enrich our lives, not become what we live our lives through.

  • I go out with my partner and often see families with children come for nice meal in a nice restaurant. Mum is updating her facebook status while dad's checking ebay, Junior and his sister are toying with nintendo. Parents cant communicate with each other let alone their children. I see scenes like this all the time and I really dont think its a healthy way to live together - if we cant be social as a family unit when we have gone out to be together what hope is there for mankind?

    I have no problem with peopl

  • by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:19AM (#43032525)

    1. Mr. Brin, you are a smart guy but I don't think emasculate means what you think it means.

    2. Ironic that this lament of the non-interaction between people comes from the head of Google. Where Google's Mountain View employees work in perfect virtual isolation in their cubes and ventilated tents. Where employees who need to talk to their colleagues in the cubicle next door or right behind them in the same, shared, cubicle use IM instead of lifting their heads and opening their mouths in conversation. Google's virtual isolation culture is truly epic. One wonders who instigated and fostered this culture if not its now self-professed emasculated leaders.

    • by polyp2000 (444682)

      Urm in respect to point 2

      Google are well known for their amazing work places. Putting opinions aside there isnt a tech company in the world that i wouldn't rather have the privilege of working for ...

      http://www.digitlab.co.za/files/2012/10/Work-at-Google.jpeg [digitlab.co.za]

      even the food / chefs are legendary - heck i was gobsmacked at the buffet they put on at a tech / networking event they put on in London a few years ago.

      N ...

  • by DrXym (126579) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @07:41AM (#43032857)
    If these Google glasses looked more like a regular pair of glasses / shades, people wouldn't look so conspicuously ridiculous by wearing them.
  • by tverbeek (457094) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @09:22AM (#43033315) Homepage
    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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