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Welcome - my name is Kevin Klinkenberg, and this site "The Messy City" is my blog and company website. I started blogging on urban planning and design issues in 2007, and began working in the field in 1993. Please feel free to connect with me on any of the social media sites listed here. Thanks for reading.

Human nature trumps technology

Dara Kerr writes about a bar fight brought on by someone wearing Google Glass. It's a cautionary tale as to what happens when new technology meets our own human nature. It's also a peek into why I personally believe Google Glass will not become ubiquitous. From the story:

Slocum was hanging out at the gritty rock bar Molotov's in San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood last Friday night showing her friends the $1,500 Google Glass she had been loaned, according to CBS San Francisco. When she demonstrated the video function, two women apparently accosted her and a man tore the wearables from her face -- hence, mayhem ensued.


The point of tension at Molotov's was the fact that Slocum was possibly recording people with Glass without their permission -- an issue that has come up repeatedly since the Web giant unveiled the device.

Anyone remember Bluetooth headsets? Of course they still exist, but it's becoming rarer and rarer to see people wearing them. Why has something so convenient gone by the waysides? Very simply - people are vain, and we don't like the way these devices make us look.

My prediction is that the current incarnation of Google Glass will suffer a similar fate. I can't imagine a wide market for people that willingly want to look like a character from Star Trek. The technology is impressive, no doubt, but it will need to face up to the realities of human nature in order to be successful.

What does this have to do with cities and urban design? Very simple: we should always be cautious to jump onto the latest techno-fix bandwagon. Our human nature in all of its good and its bad will always trump the gadgets in our lives, and we have to take that into account. We may wish for people to be rational, but as a society we are often more emotional instead.

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