Pitt: How do you see wearable technologies being used 510 years from now?
Hayes: In 5 to 10 years time my preliminary findings have identified that we are likely to be wearing one device with a multiplicity of sensors / functions collecting data in a variety of forms and storing or transmitting this data via mobile networks constantly. I "see" current handheld technologies such as the smartphone becoming a headworn device in the very near future, as digital glasses that are voice activated, location aware, augmented and network enabled. A device that has bodyworn video, audio, motion and sensor features will benefit those who undertaking tasks in workplaces, interacting socially in public places and perhaps intimately connecting humanity as nodes of the "internet of things" as smart people.
Pitt: What are your three biggest concerns with emerging wearable technologies such as Google Glass?
Hayes: Emergent wearable technologies present challenges for society as concerns for privacy, personal security and wellbeing are raised by those questioning the benefits, risks or harms that may arise from its use. Balanced and exhaustive research and development that engages key stakeholders in the perceived versus actual outcomes for emergent technology critically informs end users. My three biggest concerns with location aware digital glasses are in (1). rapid prototyping, manufacturing and distribution of digital glass products to end users that lack rigorous research and exhaustive human subject testing; (2) policy or law that restricts research projects examining how these technologies can be applied in a variety of scientific, social and creative contexts; (3) the impacts of emergent technologies more broadly on society.
Pitt: How do you think society will change as a result of wearable technologies?
Hayes: Society has adjusted to wearing time as a watch on the wrist, carrying handheld smart phones that connect in an instant through an international network and the digitisation of knowledge that has fundamentally shifted how we conduct research and business worldwide. Wearable digital technologies are likewise becoming less visual interface dependent, less intrusive and increasingly connected seamlessly with other technologies that assist us with day today activities ie. smart pedometer watch that also measures heart rate, body temperature and pulse. My research examines how location aware body worn technologies are having an impact on education and training across a range of contexts, sectors and occupations. Wearable technologies will increasingly become part of many activities across society, in essence becoming the norm rather than the exception. We are likely to be one device connected to a multitude of service providers eg. virtual medical practitioners
Pitt: Are there any good sides to these technologies?
Hayes: There are many good sides to technology as there are bad. It is the end user who has to take responsibility for their actions using technology. It is the responsibility of the researcher to complement all activities that inform how these emergent technologies can be used and the likely impact that use will have upon society. Ultimately, collectively, all contributors in the supply chain are responsible for how these technologies are used for good and where possible to contribute to ensuring the bad is limited or eliminated. Emerging wearable technologies facilitate brilliant opportunities for everyone ie. health and likewise with carefully informed use will then be used for the benefit of humanity as a whole.
Pitt: What policies do you think should be in place to protect users/all citizens?
Hayes: Policies need to be carefully instrumented, as do laws that govern the use of these technologies where they may have an adverse impact on others. Digital glasses for instance might infringe on the rights of those not wishing to become the subject in a photo capture or video recording. Our fundamental rights as law abiding citizens should be first and foremost in any policy making activity. Emergent technologies that capture, save, broadcast or transmit data that contains others as subject whether proximally or by intent can be intrusive, disruptive and even illegal in many settings. The user needs to know boundaries as to when and where it's appropriate or indeed permissible for these technologies to be used and increasingly, as these technologies become omnipresent and normalised so do policy and laws governing the use of the technology need to be accommodated. The ubiquitous trajectory of these emergent technologies is fast changing what is culturally acceptable in many parts of the world and the manner in which networked service suppliers connect with these wearable devices changes our own individual concept of rights as the user irrespective of the location or circumstance. We are likely to see a rise in cases where emergent technologies cause friction and unrest in society before those technologies become situated in everyday life.