Wearable Technology By Nathaniel Behan, ITS 12.1 2017

Overview

Wearable technology has become an entirely new industry of its own in society today. This kind of technology can be purchased by consumers looking for a variety of reasons, from efficiency at life, to aesthetics and trends. In the last decade, wearable tech has really advanced and revolutionised the western culture becoming a necessity to our everyday life. However, as many significant innovations that were influenced and how much technology it has developed, wearable tech also contributes to big issues the world faces today (Webopedia.com, 2017).

The following presentation will be discussing the pros, as well as the cons of wearable technology and the impact it has on society. Given stimulus will be analysed, demonstrating evidence to support why the benefits of wearable technology outweigh the costs and issues it causes.

Please refer to the following stimulus, references are in the bibliography.

Stimulus 1 - “10 Jobs Created by Tech That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago"

Stimulus 2 - “Wearable Technology Will Change Us"

Stimulus 3 - “The Future of Wearable Technology"

Stimulus 4 - “Best Wearable Technology of 2017"

Social

Issues Caused

Anti-Social Behaviour

Probably the most predominant issue caused from technology, especially wearable, anti-social behaviour. From constant interaction on phones and devices, to the lack in face-to-face conversations, technology does encourage this type of behaviour. Consider the following quote from stimulus 2:

“People who wear them [google glasses] have been dubbed, “Glassholes.””

In this case, because the wearable technology Google glasses are placed in front of the consumer’s face, it has been reviewed as very annoying and obnoxious. This is a clear example that society believes technology is developing non-social skills, including no eye contact and being rude. This especially applies to younger age groups that have grown up with it and haven't experienced anything else.

Distraction

This aspect of wearable technology leads onto the next issue that is being caused by it, distractions. Distractions are a major issue because the tech provides this throughout all devices, from phones and smart watches during conversations, to desktop computers at study and work.

When a notification or text message appears on a wearable device, it’s job is to alert the consumer, this causes society to never be fully engaged in conversations. While waiting for a text message from someone else we will never be able to give full attention. Technology is a big culprit in this area, and at the very least provides us with that opportunity of distraction.

Privacy

One complaint that applies to most technology these days, is the user’s privacy. This case is emphasised when wearable technology nowadays has cameras on everything, for example on the front and back of phones are cameras, can they ever be used when we are unaware. Also, if google glasses consists of cameras and are something worn everyday, will they be sending data back to google of our everyday moves? Privacy is another issue wearable technology struggles with.

Laziness

Another manner that needs to be considered is that we are becoming more dependent on technology, using it for answers (google), grabbing things for us, remind us of stuff and doing jobs for us. The only fault in this aspect is that it will cause society to become lazier, whether this is ok or not needs to be discussed. If society learns that it is ok to be lazy, will that effect our work ethic? relationships? how we approach life? Society should not allow itself to eventually be ok with not doing anything and this matter must be addressed.

Job Employment

The final issue that can be argued, is after reading stimulus 1, that technology has reduced job employment for humans. Some truth lies in this argument, for example, there is no doubt that robots are much more capable, faster and efficient than humans, also they will never make mistakes. Therefore, this would clearly lead to technology replacing humans in areas, e.g. cleaning services with autonomous vacuum cleaning ones.

Beneficial Effects

Job Employment

However, in reply to the last issue declared these very few negative effects from technology are quickly discarded because we soon realise that the benefits of technology greatly outweigh its costs. This is because many, many more job opportunities arise from technology, for example, if an autonomous cleaning robot replaces one persons job, a vacuum cleaner, we know that it would open up 100s of other possibilities. In this case, the robot would require mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, product designers, architectures, manufacturing, marketing teams, maintenance teams and legal supervisors, the list continues.

Not only that, technology also provides society and humans more capability at jobs that were once done by humans. For example, dangerous jobs can be done safely, no mistakes will be made and tasks can be completed more efficiently.

We see how breakthrough in technology positively effects society, because it not only opens up more job opportunities, but it also provides humans with improved capability at completing tasks.

Media

Similarly we see shown throughout the stimulus, so many new jobs have been provided thanks to technology and the media. Technology has completely transformed how companies can provide their services to the public, for example, consider the following quote from stimulus 1, as Uber discusses the evolution of taxis and cabs:

"With 8 million users and over 160,000 drivers world wide – that’s a lot of jobs created as a result of an app!"

Uber is not the only company that has advantaged from technology and the media in their sales and success;

"Airbnb allows hosts to state that their spare room is available for 3 days between X date and X date. Airbnb has nearly a million listings in 33,000 cities..."

Technology has revolutionised industries! From improving communication to the public with better and more efficient ways, to providing them online access to purchase products.

This also demonstrates how the role of marketing and advertising has completely changed, being much easier to publicise with the use of social networking and media.

Community

The media has also produced community for the world to share and use. Technology and social media allow the world to stay connected, share opinions and publicise news and ideas much quicker. Provides communication to people over distances that otherwise would not be possible.

Efficient

In response to the “laziness” issue raised, has society become more lazy? or efficient? Consider the following quote from stimulus 2;

“I don’t know if I’m a better person because of my mobile phone, but I certainly feel l like I have a better life because of it.”

The stimulus later asks the audience to imagine that you are approaching your home with groceries in all of your hands, but your phone smart-lock unlocks and opens the door for you. Even more so, your phone could realise using sensors that your body temperature is above average which then signals to turns on the smart-air conditioner. Whether your body is stressed, anxious or worried, in this example, wearable technology has helped an individual out in a time of need. This aspect was why wearable technology has been developed, not so that humans can become lazier, but rather so that we can become stronger. In times of need technology can provide a helping hand, in this way it improves our weaknesses and can develop human’s capabilities. This efficiency created from wearable tech benefits society into striving for better lives and a better world, with greater innovations.

Environmental

Issues Caused

There are near to no issues caused by wearable technology that affects the environment. This is because there are very few chemicals and toxins used to construct smart phones and similar tech. However, if not disposed of properly, then this may damage the environment, although tech such as phones are so small that it would do almost nothing.

Beneficial Effects

Stimulus 3 states the following:

“Moore’s Law contends that as components get smaller, products gain efficiency and become more powerful.”

This directly influences the effects on the environment. We see that because wearable tech is designed to be small, manoeuvrable and light, they do not contain large amounts of materials. Also, after reading stimulus 3 it demonstrates that as time goes on, the devices will only get smaller. This means that what little amounts of materials are required for technology will only decrease.

Ethical

Issues Caused

Apart of us

The biggest ethical worry about wearable tech is that it is becoming too much apart of us. During stimulus 1 we see that this is acknowledged:

“We now think nothing of a person staring into space as they talk loudly to someone the rest of us can’t see. Mobile is normative; anyone without a mobile phone is a freak.”

The quote demonstrates that wearable tech, such as our phone has become such a significant part of society we take it everywhere, you are considered a freak otherwise. This shows how accustomed the tech has become apart of us.

Advertising

Because our technology is always with us and revolves around our day to day, this provides marketing opportunities to advertise. Advertisements could quickly become serious amounts of spam if it was allowed throughout our personal space on technology. By showing ads on our tech it is practically delivering the content straight to us, this is a cause from being so close our devices. Another example of this is during stimulus 2:

“Between conductive fabrics or sensor-clad smart garments, wearables will intertwine so closely with fashion we won’t be able to distinguish them apart.”

The thought that we may be wearing our technology as accessories and for aesthetics is not an out of this world idea. Considering, smart watches and Google glasses already take into account how they look on their consumers, because they will almost constantly be worn. However, the question here is, is it right to be wearing the technology for looks, because thats how apart our devices are of us?

Beneficial Effects

However, maybe this idea of making tech “too apart of us” and staying connected to our wearables is not such a bad thing. There are many services that our devices grant us access to, Apple Pay and banks allow users to their bank accounts online, without their wallets on hand. Google Maps provides destinations almost anywhere in case of loss in direction, the list goes on.

Synthesis

Although there are issues and problems with wearable tech at the moment, history demonstrates how technology is only going to improve. Stimulus 3 states the following:

“Savvy consumers will demand the ability to set specific permission settings on their device to structure who, what, where and when they can be disturbed.”

The quote applies because we know that the demand for the technology by the customers will only get higher, therefore forcing the market to develop what society wants. For example for the issue of “anti-social causing” aspects on wearable tech, such as the Google glasses, the makers may realise that society wants less obnoxious equipment. Therefore they may choose to turn the glasses into a hidden piece behind an the ear.

As mentioned, perhaps its ok to rely greatly upon our wearable technology, not so that we wont have too and we can become lazy, but so that we can focus on more important aspects in life. It could allow families to continue having family time, instead of having to finish just to cook and prepare meals when it could be done by a machine. It might allow doctors to work on more important tasks at hand such as trying to cure cancer, rather than caring for sick which technology could do for them. Humans can benefit from technology if we let it.

Solution

Social

My solution to discourage anti-social behaviour in wearable tech is by not allowing any of it to sit and cover any of the human sensors. For example, Google glasses cover up the eyes and phone ear pieces cover the ears. I resent this idea because during conversations, it creates a wall between the two interacting people, allowing distraction.

To reduce distraction from wearable technology, devices should incorporate more “glanceable” features, eg. less text on notifications, functions that can interpret when the user is in the middle of a conversation.

When it comes to privacy nowadays, for example, on social media such as Instagram and Facebook, more and more options allowing privacy are being provided to its users. As time goes on, this will occur to more devices and aspects, allowing increased privacy settings.

Ethics

Just as previously discussed, maybe staying so close to our devices and wearable tech isn't such a bad thing. As long as the tech is always voluntarily used, and not implanted into our bodies then its fine. Wearable tech provides us the option of choosing to wear it everyday, for example, smart watches use straps that can be easily undone at any moment. This demonstrates that we are not forced to use our tech at any point.

Evaluation

Although there are issues and problems with wearable tech at the moment, history demonstrates how technology is only going to improve. Stimulus 3 states the following:

“Savvy consumers will demand the ability to set specific permission settings on their device to structure who, what, where and when they can be disturbed.”

The quote applies because we know that the demand for the technology by the customers will only get higher, therefore forcing the market to develop what society wants. For example for the issue of “anti-social causing” aspects on wearable tech, such as the Google glasses, the makers may realise that society wants less obnoxious equipment. Therefore they may choose to turn the glasses into a hidden piece behind an the ear.

As mentioned, perhaps its ok to rely greatly upon our wearable technology, not so that we wont have too and we can become lazy, but so that we can focus on more important aspects in life. It could allow families to continue having family time, instead of having to finish just to cook and prepare meals when it could be done by a machine. It might allow doctors to work on more important tasks at hand such as trying to cure cancer, rather than caring for sick which technology could do for them. Humans can benefit from technology if we let it.

Context

Throughout the term, the ITS class have studied wearable technology. Including how the software is engineered as well as the benefits and issues caused from it. All the learning and research was completed at the school, in room D11 (lab full of iMacs), with the rest of the year 12 class and the teacher Ms Kritzinger. While some of the assignment was typed up at home, the majority was worked on at the school. Due to a time factor, the Spark Posts could not be done as extravagantly and well as optimised, also the evaluation and synthesis paragraph were combined into one due to the same reason.

Input

As mentioned, D11 is a computer lab full of iMacs that the students used, along with a wired mouse and wireless apple keyboard. When at home, the assignment was completed on a Mac Mini, apple keyboard and gaming mouse. While only pages was used to type up the document, the data, stimulus and research have all been referenced in the bibliography.

Influential knowledge prior to the assignment this term consisted from the 2016 year 11 ITS course. It covered app and game design. The app design assignment from last year came in handy because it reminded myself of important concepts and principles from that course.

References

Bule, designed. (2017, January 25). 10 jobs created by tech that didn’t exist 10 years ago. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from http://blog.nasstar.com/10-jobs-created-by-tech-that- didnt-exist-10-years-ago/ (Anon, 2017)

Yury, C. (2013, September 13). Wearable technology will change us. But how? Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carrie-yury/wearable- technology_b_3909254.html (The Huffington Post, 2017)

Quinlan, J., & Rithmio. (2015, February 13). The Future of Wearable Tech. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from Innovation Insights, https://www.wired.com/insights/2015/02/the- future-of-wearable-tech/

Stein, S. (2017, February 16). Best Wearable tech of 2017. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from https://www.cnet.com/au/topics/wearable-tech/best-wearable-tech/

Webopedia.com. (2017). What is Wearable Technology (wearable gadgets)? Webopedia Definition. [online] Available at: http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/wearable_technology.html [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].

Created By
Nathaniel Behan
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