The Glass of Wrath: Tech Standoff in San Francisco Reaches Wearableson February 28, 2014 at 3:42 pm
As frustration grows among ‘native’ San Franciscans and the technology workers that they believe are taking over the city, wearable tech has become the latest sign of this great divide.
An alleged attack on a woman wearing Google Glass at a bar in the city has heightened tensions, and her posting video footage from the incident to YouTube has done little to convince others that she wasn’t invading privacy as claimed.
Add this to the ‘pitfalls’ category of the article we featured last year covering the pros and cons of wearable technology. The situation in San Francisco is admittedly made worse by the tech-led gentrification that has driven up rent prices and forced some out of the city, but it isn’t hard to see how certain types of wearables could become a magnet for critics, antagonists, and thieves around the country.
Eyewear is the most visible and, more importantly, the most invasive of this transformative trend. At least it feels the most invasive, as a look and taking a photo or recording a video become potentially the same thing. In reality the major manufacturers will include safeguards to let others now when such a device is active, but we’re currently in the realm of pure speculation and early adopters will be viewed with skepticism at best, outright violence at worst.
One potential savior lies in the more fashion-conscious tech companies and their desire to integrate technology less conspicuously onto our person. Early products like Galaxy Gear and Glass look more at home on Star Trek than on fashion runways, leaving plenty of space for innovative startups to create functional devices that don’t draw the wrong type of attention. The motivating factor for companies like Misfit Wearables and Cuff, both based in San Francisco themselves, is making the tech we wear look good. The arguably more important side-effect may be to keep wearers – and many of the companies’ peers in the tech sector – safer in an increasingly hostile environment.