New social norms and regulations may be required regarding “glassholes” – individuals who wear their augmented reality headsets in public and act irresponsibly. The recent trend, which is going viral on social media, raises both privacy and safety concerns.
Should you take off the VR headset when ordering your large latte with whole milk? You should, judging by the face of the barista in a viral video currently circulating on X.
Meta Quest 3 has been out for a week, and the device is getting praise among reviewers as being very capable for the price.
“OK, don't be mad. But someone had to do it,” claims the video's author, in which he enters a cafe and makes an order while wearing the device.
In another tweet, he admits: “She absolutely hated me.”
The term glasshole was coined back in 2013 for those who refused to take off the just-released Google Glass devices when interacting with others. With recent advancements in technology, the term is reemerging.
People are once again out in public with recording devices on their faces, willfully disregarding the privacy or safety of others.
Some users online are already asking if their cool new toy, Meta Quest 3, has a passthrough good enough for driving. Jokingly or not, there may soon be actual slackers out there risking lives for a few TikTok views.
Actually, this has already happened before, during previous releases of virtual reality (VR) goggles, as seen in this clip.
There should be no doubt, of course, that any extra barrier will add latency that’ll slow down reaction times in tight spots. It will also add distractions. And that limited 110-degree field of view is no match for a human’s visual perception.
There are many clips already of people trying to augment their boring reality by playing games or watching YouTube while going about their day.
Of course, no harm is done when the device is being used to paint virtual paintings in the park or while waiting alone in the elevator. However, this popular TikTok includes other people in the example.
One thing becomes evident. With Quest 3 and the imminent release of Apple’s Vision Pro, new rules and social norms may be required to integrate the socially inept glassholes.
Experts: don’t cross the street or expect to be treated with respect
For Angelo Sorbello, a tech entrepreneur and the founder of Coworking Radar, the use of AR headsets in public places raises a number of important questions about privacy, social norms, and potential misuse.
“It’s best to avoid using augmented reality headsets in public places, as it could be seen as intrusive or disruptive. It is also important to be aware of the potential for misuse and to respect the privacy of others,” he believes.
One of the main reasons is that such devices violate the privacy of others when used in public, as they can record or observe people without their permission.
“This is especially concerning in places such as public restrooms, locker rooms, or other areas where people may expect a certain level of privacy,” Sorbello said.
Neither is it considered polite or socially acceptable.
“There are no established social norms around using AR headsets in public. However, it’s generally considered rude to record people without their permission, regardless of whether you’re using an AR headset or not. Additionally, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to use AR headsets in a way that doesn’t disrupt others,” Joseph Harisson, CEO of IT Companies Network, argues.
He warns that AR goggles-wearers risk causing potential harm, especially if they’re used in a distracted or reckless manner.
“For example, someone wearing an AR headset could walk into a wall or trip over something. It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings and to avoid using AR headsets in situations where it could be dangerous, such as while driving or crossing the street,” Harisson said.
Yet, he expects more people augmenting their realities in public places, as AR headsets have the potential to be used for a variety of purposes like gaming, entertainment, education, and productivity.
As technology advances, IT consultant Youssef El Achab from itcertificate.org, also expects more headsets in public and everyday life. And the discussion needs to start for clear guidelines and regulations.
“Just as it's impolite to have a loud conversation on the phone in a quiet setting, using AR headsets that record or distract from real-life interactions can be disruptive. Respect for the people around you should guide AR headset usage,” he suggests. “Wearing AR headsets while driving poses significant risks, as it diverts attention from the road, similar to texting while driving. This practice is illegal and dangerous.”
Cybernews has reached out to Meta for comment. However, we’re yet to receive a response.
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