Unscrambled Q&A: Should Certain Technology Be Banned?

Last week Google Glass officially launched in the United Kingdom. For the sum of 1,000 pounds ($1,700 USD), any U.K. consumer who is interested in testing out one of the most advanced pieces of technology can do so. Unfortunately, not everyone wants this to happen – namely the movie theater industry.

According to The Inquirer, “cinema officials in Britain have been quick to announce that the expensive eyewear will not be welcome in theaters, citing fears that the glasses could be used to make pirated copies of movies.” Despite Google Glass being capable of recording only 45 minutes of video before its battery needs recharging, one Google Glass wearer inside a London Leicester Square cinema has already been asked to remove his eyewear.

Here in America, a Google Glass wearer who turned off the device but kept it on his head because it was fitted with prescription lenses was detained and questioned by the FBI for three and a half hours. The feds had received an anonymous tip that the Glass wearer was responsible for a string of piracy incidents but let him go when they couldn’t prove he was recording anything.

“About an hour into the movie, a guy comes near my seat, shoves a badge that had some sort of shield on it, yanks the Google Glass off my face and says, ‘follow me outside immediately.’ It was quite embarrassing and outside of the theater were about 10 cops.”

– Accused Google Glass Movie Pirate

Google Glass isn’t the only technology that has been banned recently. Like the majority of the country, New Mexico has just outlawed texting-and-driving and only six states still allow drivers to do so. While this is a dangerous activity that deserves attention, a small fine isn’t enough of a deterrent for people to stop.

In a study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, “a quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. Twenty percent of teens and Ten percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving.”

Clearly, banning technology while driving is not working as the number of phone-related crashes has soared to 1.6 million per year – injuring over a half million people while killing 6,000. When you factor in other technology-related distractions like car stereos, navigation systems, or even cup holders; these statistics are much greater.

“Individuals who drive while sending or reading text messages are 23 percent more likely to be involved in a car crash than other drivers. A crash typically happens within an average of three seconds after a driver is distracted.”

– Parkview Trauma Centers

There’s a big difference between banning Google Glass inside movie theaters and text messaging while driving, but the end result is the same: people will still do whatever they want. Technology has become such a major part of our lives that people are refusing to obey laws from the government or requests from businesses. It has literally become more important to use our gadgets every possible second, than to put them away for a few minutes. Finding a solution to this problem is not only difficult, but necessary.

Some people have argued that laws or education are not the answer to solving this riddle. They believe the best way to combat this issue is with technology itself. For example: if Google Glass only worked when connected to Google-sanctioned Wi-Fi hotspots or text messaging was disabled automatically when a phone was inside a car; there would be no need for laws or fines regarding the use of this technology. But the problem then turns into an issue about our freedom.

Do we really want to live in a world that tells us what technology we can and can’t use? I sure don’t. But I do think it’s important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Technology has made this one of the greatest times to be alive, but a totalitarian dystopia where we can’t use it is not the answer.

What do you think? Should we ban certain technology like Google Glass inside movie theaters and text messaging while driving? Should we control this technology with other technology because people aren’t obeying laws and requests? Should we let people run free and do whatever they want with technology? Or is there a middle ground that we can all live with?

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15 Responses to Unscrambled Q&A: Should Certain Technology Be Banned?

  1. Zerin June 30, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    I think technology clearly meant for nefarious purposes should be discouraged (like those cool camera baseball caps I’ve seen on Ebay) but Google Glass does not qualify. I’d say a compromise IS NEEDED since nowadays it’s become common courtesy to turn off cell phones in theaters and not take pictures of random people just because we can. Some people just go too far, and I’m referring to both sides of the table, the ones with tech can just do whatever they want if they so choose. and the modern Luddites that want to stop the whole world from using the technology just because it can be used for evil purposes.

  2. Taylor A. (@vdefender) June 30, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

    I think texting and driving should be approached the same way seatbelt laws were approached, by making the car make a very annoying noise if you’re not buckled or if you are distracted driving. Simple eye tracking would do the trick. Many newer cars already do this but they are detecting if you fall asleep. Apply the same idea for texting but tweak the alarm.

    • Jayson Burris July 2, 2014 at 1:53 am #

      Great I idea they have the answer right here.

  3. Amy Kulesza July 1, 2014 at 1:35 am #

    Making phones unusable for texting on a vehicle is ridiculous because of passengers wanting or needing to use their phones. I don’t like the texting and driving but we need to be responsible ourselves.

    • Jayson Burris July 2, 2014 at 1:55 am #

      This would only be for the driver.

      • NickR July 3, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

        how would you be able to tell it was the driver texting??? answer multiple math questions while you text? like i said before I think if the charge was negligent use of a deadly weapon if the person got into an accident while using their devices, then maybe people would think twice about sending LOL back to their friends LMAO

    • Ken July 3, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

      Can’t people just stop using their phones for a few minute and actually spend time with the people they are actually with??? I miss the days when there were no cell phones.

  4. Pellmellism July 1, 2014 at 1:51 am #

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  5. John July 1, 2014 at 4:10 am #

    As long as I do not cause harm to another I should be free to do what I want. Pirating movies obviously causes harm to the movie industry. As far as texting and driving, yes it increases your likelyhood of an accident, but so does any number of factors that are perfectly legal.

  6. NickR July 1, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    As far as most theaters go, any recording device is not allowed, so if it records, it probably shouldnt be out, it should be put away in your pocket or case. texting and driving is a major issue, and theres always an app for that, on many phones you can get apps that read your your texts and then allow you to dictate a response…. I think instead of being the future police if someone gets into a car accident while texting, emailing, reading a newspaper/book or talking on a cell phone they need to be charged harshly, when a person is driving a 1-2 ton weapon around they would be better off not being distracted and charges should be “Negligent use of a deadly weapon.”… Thankfully I do not spend much time driving but when i do, if i get a text or a call and ill be stopping within 20 minutes it can wait, if it will be longer ill pull over and make sure. I am also not one of those people who needed to be connected 24/7 because I hate these devices and wish my cell phone was just a phone!!!

  7. John Crafton July 1, 2014 at 7:52 am #

    Let the auto industry and cell phone manufacturer s decide how they’d like to approach it. If it’s successful in the open market, without government mandates, I’m for it. Let the buyers and sellers decide what the marketplace will bear. Keep the government out of it.

  8. Tristan Vukosich (SuperSluether) July 1, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    No. Technology should not be banned, and cannot be controlled. People will do whatever they want, no matter what the government says. Just look at how many people copy their DVDs to a computer for a backup! That’s against the law, yet how many of them get caught?

    Google Glass may be capable of recording, but it’s a poor base for pirating movies. The camera is almost cell-phone quality, and it’d be a little strange wearing it while it’s plugged in since it dies after 45 minutes. I think the FBI (and police in general) need to focus on enforcing the law, not blindly accusing.

  9. Mike Celona July 1, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    No problems with taking them off in a movie theatre. You aren’t allowed to bring your own food and drinks into a theatre. So it’s really a non-issue. The technology shouldn’t be banned. It just need certain controls; alcohol isn’t banned (although it once was) but you can’t drive after/while using it. Nothing wrong with that. People will always break the rules and THEY should be punished. You can’t ruin a good/fun/educational time or experiance with something for the responsible because of the mistakes and disregard of the irresponsible.

  10. Investing Cow July 1, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    I’m fine with banning google glass by different businesses. Even if the person wearing it isn’t recording, you still know that google is.

  11. Paul L. July 1, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    As far as the question posed in this article goes, I am all for restricting the use of technology when it puts others in danger – whether that danger is financial or physical.

    I do not believe people need cellphones to work while they are driving along the road.
    I do not believe people need to text someone while they are driving.
    I do not believe that cinemas are in the wrong for banning the use of Google Glasses in movies.

    These are NOT personal freedoms afforded to us by the constitution. It is not a matter of freedom of expression. It is not a matter of freedom of speech. It is not a matter of freedom of the press. It is not a matter of freedom of religion.

    Being old enough to remember driving cross country without a cellphone, I can in fact, confirm that the world will not end if you drop off the grid for 20 minutes to an hour while you make your way to your destination. Restricting the use of cellphones or similar devices while driving is something that I believe needs to be done now, rather than later. The longer we wait, the more people will think that their rights are being infringed because you put a cellphone jammer in their car.

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