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AskMe would have provided better advice
January 10, 2014 11:10 AM   Subscribe

OK, Cupid: giving your love life to Google Glass and the hive mind. Artist Lauren McCarthy "went on sixteen first dates. For each date, she streamed audio and video of the proceedings to Ustream, and paid workers from Amazon's Mechanical Turk (a market for crowdsourcing tasks) to watch, comment, and send her instructions."
posted by exogenous (63 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
well, that's one way to, ah, market yourself. I think any new potential first-daters who google her name might begin to re-think their plans.
posted by k5.user at 11:12 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


There's a hell of lot about her and her issues and everything she wants out of this but nothing about the poor people who had to endure this from the other side.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:14 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]


this is truly a touching moment for gender parity in being a huge douchebag while dating
posted by threeants at 11:16 AM on January 10 [68 favorites]


Why do you assume Mechanical Turk workers are poor? Frankly my experience with Mechanical Turk is that the pay is too low for even poor people to be bothered. It seems to attract people who have time to kill.
posted by GuyZero at 11:16 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]


the poor people who had to endure this from the other side.

Yeah the poor people reduced to working as Mechanical Turks providing advice and having to watch should get some consideration!
posted by mary8nne at 11:17 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


Crowdsourced Douchebag. Band name?
posted by yoink at 11:17 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Yeah the poor people reduced to working as Mechanical Turks providing advice and having to watch should get some consideration!

I meant the poor people she was dating. I don't give a damn about the MT people, who also sound horrific.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:19 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


I think any new potential first-daters who google her name might begin to re-think their plans.

Any potential first-daters who see Google paraphernalia anywhere on their opposite number might also get paranoid and rethink the meeting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:20 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


AskMe would have told her to walk out, repeatedly throughout the date.

"I see my role as an artist as pushing on the edges of these technological futures. Creating scenarios that tread a line between something dystopic and something positive, and trying to tease out some of the issues and subtleties in the confrontation."

That's fair enough, I suppose. But I have to agree her art would have more value if she had found some way to incorporate the dates' feedback. Moreover, she might be a more interesting artist if she spent some time ruminating on why her various experiments keep yielding essentially the same result ("a couple weeks into each one, the projects usually get pretty psychologically difficult, and evidently unsustainable for a lifetime").
posted by cribcage at 11:24 AM on January 10


Any potential first-daters who see Google paraphernalia anywhere on their opposite number might also get paranoid and rethink the meeting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:20 AM on January 10 [+] [!]


Call me old fashioned, but I've 86'd first dates who told me first thing that they had googled me. No paraphernalia required, just a big mouth.
posted by janey47 at 11:26 AM on January 10


> this is truly a touching moment for gender parity in being a huge douchebag while dating

I dunno.
She wonders if Glass can make you a better person. "I'm really interested in ways that these kinds of augmentations can do more than just supply you with information, putting you in a kind of autopilot where you barely need to think," she says. "Could they instead augment your experience in ways that change you as a person, at the level of core values and experience?"

Consider the problem of remembering names. It's hard! If you're the kind of person who meets a lot of people, it's a useful thing to get right. The obvious solution — the one that every augmented reality demo uses — is to throw up a person's name when the system recognizes them, next time you see them.

She has a different idea. "A more interesting implementation would remind me at the moment when I was meeting someone, to pay attention and remember, to ask again if I'd already forgotten their name. Over time, I might change my behavior and start remembering without the prompts, rather than becoming completely reliant on the technology."
She sounds like someone who wonders if new technology can make you a better person. That may or may not be true, but wondering, and trying something out, doesn't make you a douchebag. Also, for those who didn't RTFA very carefully, no actual daters were harmed in the making of this experiment.
posted by languagehat at 11:26 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Welcome Borg!

It's so aggressive..
posted by bird internet at 11:26 AM on January 10


It's like a reboot of that one Brady Bunch episode.
posted by bondcliff at 11:27 AM on January 10


She sounds like someone who wonders if new technology can make you a better person.

I did read the article, but I don't remember her saying if she told people in advance that she'd be doing this. And I can't face rereading the thing to see if she did. First dates are crap enough without being part of someone's performance art/broadcast self-improvement binge. And the thought of a range of strangers being there to watch me and give advice to the other person as I went on a first date fills me with a sort of horror that I usually reserve for finding out that my date thinks Ayn Rand should have won a Nobel prize.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:31 AM on January 10 [9 favorites]


Also, for those who didn't RTFA very carefully, no actual daters were harmed in the making of this experiment.

Did she have the consent of her dates to involve them in her experiment? I didn't see anything indicating that in the article.
posted by threeants at 11:32 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]


Matt Farley can provide the soundtrack for the romcom cut - coming soon to YouTube.
posted by Naberius at 11:32 AM on January 10


You people throw stones now, but I just bet this'll be a regular Friday night thing in MetaChat in a few years.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:33 AM on January 10


Did she have the consent of her dates to involve them in her experiment? I didn't see anything indicating that in the article.

It looks like she didn't even get approval from her IRB!
posted by theodolite at 11:35 AM on January 10 [8 favorites]


That may or may not be true, but wondering, and trying something out, doesn't make you a douchebag

No, indeed. But I think crowdsourcing your dating behavior would make you behave, at a minimum, oddly. I don't think anyone was reflexively branding her a douchebag, but suggesting that the unfortunate side-effect of her experiment/art project would be to come across as a douchebag to the people she was dating.

Certainly if one imagines real-time outsourcing of a date to, say, AskMe, the results would get ugly fast. "You're wearing those? That's it, I'm outta here!"
posted by yoink at 11:36 AM on January 10


Unless I'm misunderstanding, no, she didn't inform dates or ask their consent. But she's presenting this as art, not a clinical trial. And she says that otherwise she treated these as typical first dates in that as she felt open to making a connection with the people. If she were married and doing this just as art, that would be a jerk move.
posted by cribcage at 11:37 AM on January 10


But she's presenting this as art, not a clinical trial.

So as long as I say it's art, I can film people and broadcast it on the internet without getting their permission first? Duly noted.
posted by Noms_Tiem at 11:40 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]


Call me old fashioned, but I've 86'd first dates who told me first thing that they had googled me. No paraphernalia required, just a big mouth.
You're old fashioned. It seems pretty silly not to google a date, at least to see if she's the person she says she is. You don't have to delve deeply, but not doing a quick sanity check just seems reckless.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:40 AM on January 10 [8 favorites]


Last anecdote about her Glass-less date is utterly fascinating "She ended up on a date recently, unplanned and with no Turk workers to back her up. "When he tried to kiss me, I believe my exact phrase was 'I really don’t have any grasp on my basis for making decisions about this stuff right now, so ok?'"

I believe the technical term would be, depersonalization?
posted by wuwei at 11:41 AM on January 10 [10 favorites]


Unless I'm misunderstanding, no, she didn't inform dates or ask their consent. But she's presenting this as art, not a clinical trial. And she says that otherwise she treated these as typical first dates in that as she felt open to making a connection with the people. If she were married and doing this just as art, that would be a jerk move.

I don't understand why doing this to complete strangers, who have no idea what's happening, is any less of a douchebag move than if she were married. When you arrange to go out on a first date with people, you're arranging to go out with them, not a range of internet strangers who get to watch your every move. The entire article was all about her and her feelings and emotions - nothing for those who had what is a rather tense and awkward moment broadcast for others to rule on. (And how anonymous can you really remain in these situations? She has no idea who might be there on MT, does she, or what friends and connections these dates may have.)

In short: other people are not just there to be part of your personal projects.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:43 AM on January 10 [8 favorites]


It seems pretty silly not to google a date

but of equal or greater silliness to proclaim that on first meeting said date
posted by me & my monkey at 11:43 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Art, experimental science, whatever; it's creepy and rude to film people on a date without their consent.
posted by threeants at 11:44 AM on January 10 [8 favorites]


Read the article, Noms. She didn't film anyone but herself.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:45 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


When people Google me, I prefer everybody in the results to be dead. I don't need to be confused with anybody that's actually alive.

Yes, that's right, I did fight for the Union in the Civil War.
posted by Redfield at 11:45 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


Y'know, if I'm getting paid 25 cents an hour to give live what-to-do-on-a-date advice, you can damn well bet my priority is making it as entertaining as possible for myself. "Okay, now teasingly smear more aioli on his clavicles and ask if he's okay with naming your first five children after members of The Bay City Rollers."
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:45 AM on January 10 [14 favorites]


It seems pretty silly not to google a date

but of equal or greater silliness to proclaim that on first meeting said date
Point taken!
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:46 AM on January 10


I don't understand why doing this to complete strangers, who have no idea what's happening, is any less of a douchebag move than if she were married.

Because there is a difference between saying, "I am going to use my first dates as part of my art project," versus saying, "I have no interest in dating, but I'm going to trick people into dates so I can perform this art project."
posted by cribcage at 11:47 AM on January 10


Wow, this makes the novel Love Minus 80 look pretty prescient.
posted by trunk muffins at 11:53 AM on January 10


Things like this make me glad I'm old, and I won't live to see what's happening in the world in 50 years.
posted by freakazoid at 11:54 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]


"Call me old fashioned, but I've 86'd first dates who told me first thing that they had googled me."

That's an OK Cupid question and virtually every answer I've seen (by women) have been "knowledge is power!". I answered "no googling" and then wrote a long explanation, which is my standard spiel that we're not going to be able to put this information genie back into the bottle and so the only viable solution to the privacy problem is what it's always been: social mores and taboos about privacy that regulate individual behavior.

There's lots of things that are both possible and legal that we could do before a first date that, nevertheless, people would think that if you did them, you'd be a little nuts and a lot inappropriately nosy. The ease with which we can use google to learn about other people somehow makes people believe that the same standards don't apply. My argument is that they do. You need a better reason to snoop on someone than that you are able to do so.

"No, indeed. But I think crowdsourcing your dating behavior would make you behave, at a minimum, oddly."

I don't think that's true at all. Acceptable behavior is what is collective thought to be acceptable. Crowdsourced judgment would be more likely to result in normal behavior than abnormal behavior.

The idea strikes people as weird, but it's not different than getting other people's advice about how to act on a date before the date, relating to people what happened on a date and using their feedback and advice to change your behavior on subsequent dates, modeling your behavior on dates on the basis of how you observe other people behaving on dates, etc. Essentially, we've always been crowdsourcing our idea of what "normal" behavior is during these kinds of social encounters. And people on occasion go on first dates in the context of a larger social gathering with friends and very often there's real-time feedback and advice on first-date behavior by those people. So even the real-time nature of this isn't new.

You can't object that this isn't "genuine" and "honest" because that's my line. By which I mean that I'm the oddball who doesn't like the whole idea of getting advice and feedback on OK Cupid profiles and generally "optimizing" my appearance, presentation, and behavior to appeal to prospective romantic partners because I'd prefer that people like me as who I normally am and all this polishing and putting a best face on it seems exactly contrary to my goals in meeting someone as a potential romantic partner. But I'm in the distinct minority! Everyone else thinks doing this sort of thing is not only normal, but that it's really stupid not to do it. Of course you're going to put your best foot forward.

So you can't object on that basis unless you generally object to anything that deviates from truly unconsidered, genuine behavior in this context.

And, finally, assuming that we put my view on this aside and go with the "most people aim for the optimum 'normal' and 'appealing' behavior in this sort of social situation and that makes sense and is right" view, then there's a whole lot of people who could benefit from this sort of real-time coaching. After all, much of this really is social ritual and why are the some ways that it's acceptable to gain high competency at it but other ways that are not? Whatever works.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:56 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


I believe the technical term would be, depersonalization?

I am imagining a reality TV show in the year 2121, where detached contestants wear Google BrainPlugs and their romantic decisions are completely guided "enhanced" by majority decisions from the audience, who are also wearing BrainPlugs, and a Google production team housed in a few cargo containers stored in a Bay Area industrial suburb. At the correct emotional cuepoints, the entertainment nee search company steps in and beams commercial breaks directly into audience and contestant brains, alike. In the future, the ratings will be awesome.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:57 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Because there is a difference between saying, "I am going to use my first dates as part of my art project," versus saying, "I have no interest in dating, but I'm going to trick people into dates so I can perform this art project."

Yeah, I can see why one is worse than the other, but don't think either is okay in this situation. She wasn't just writing poems about the dates or something. She was streaming the dates live on the internet wtihout getting their permission.
posted by Area Man at 11:57 AM on January 10


Unless I'm misunderstanding, no, she didn't inform dates or ask their consent. But she's presenting this as art, not a clinical trial.

Consent is an important issue in a lot of areas of life, not just research.
posted by nubs at 11:58 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I think that ok Cupid might actually be a killer app, if you have an opt in option where it projects ok Cupid information over people who are nearby you in a place like a bar. Then you could quickly read people's profiles before approaching them and so on. Though I doubt how many women would be interested in such a thing and would wear google glass to a bar.
posted by empath at 12:00 PM on January 10


That's an OK Cupid question and virtually every answer I've seen (by women) have been "knowledge is power!". I answered "no googling" and then wrote a long explanation, which is my standard spiel that we're not going to be able to put this information genie back into the bottle and so the only viable solution to the privacy problem is what it's always been: social mores and taboos about privacy that regulate individual behavior.

I think there's validity in both positions, and I'll throw out a third: we can learn things about people by observing their appearance (which contains aspects of absolute truth, active curation and inadvertent reveal), and online stalking falls into the same category. To be successful, we should be aware of the genie we've let out of the bottle (as you say) and not only follow social mores and our own internal compass, but also work under the assumption that we can (to an extent) curate our online appearance, or even opt out...which itself reveals something about us.

From that perspective, I'd be less interested in someone represented indiscriminately online or someone completely absent from search engines, and more interested in someone who has a respectable curated online presence. The willingness and ability (together) to achieve that is, in my mind, similar to someone whose outfits are well put together and call attention to the person rather than themselves.

So I'd google, I think, if I were going to do something like that. But only once, and only casually; anything more would be like peeking in closets or pulling out shirt tags to see if they're designer (read: tacky and intrusive.)
posted by davejay at 12:05 PM on January 10


In the future people won't be disoriented or in "pretty confused state" like the artist because they are smart enough to realize that you need SIO (Social Interactions Optimization) to handle this kind of stuff. Why suffer another boring date doing lots of stressful guesswork when a professional SIO can help you optimize your dating life for maximum fun and ROI? Just make sure that your SIO is white hat and isn't using any dark social patterns like persona stuffing, proxy dating or reputation farming.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:05 PM on January 10 [7 favorites]


Acceptable behavior is what is collective thought to be acceptable. Crowdsourced judgment would be more likely to result in normal behavior than abnormal behavior.

I think there's two or three interesting problems here. One is, of course, an implementation problem. I just don't think there actually is a way to derive the true "normal" response to every stimulus in real time and deploy it in any kind of "natural" way. So I think some of the "oddness" I see as arising here is simply a matter of experimental artifacts ("hang on, I'm still compiling my answer to your last question...").

Another problem, though, is that "normal" behavior in these kinds of social contexts is not, in fact, "normal." That is to say, imagine a meal that was a genuine "average" of every meal being cooked at this moment in North America. It would be a pretty weird fucking meal, right? Or imagine if a group of us determined our clothes styles by deriving the true "norms" of clothing shape and clothing color for every single person in America at this moment? We'd look pretty strange, right? The point is that 'normal' behavior is always going to be sub-culturally shaped. What is "appropriate" in my subculture may well come across as bizarre in someone else's. But crowdsourcing can't really control for that (or, rather, at the current moment it probably generates something that is pretty recognizable as a particular subculture [young, white, male, nerdy etc.] but which, again, is not necessarily going to be a good fit with yours.

This is a bit like those wonderful paintings produced by Komar and Melamid, in which they surveyed people on what they most like in works of art and then produced paintings based on the surveys. Of course, the paintings are no actual individual's idea of what a "good" painting should be, even though they are "scientifically calculated" to be the most pleasing painting possible.
posted by yoink at 12:10 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I think that ok Cupid might actually be a killer app, if you have an opt in option where it projects ok Cupid information over people who are nearby you in a place like a bar. Then you could quickly read people's profiles before approaching them and so on. Though I doubt how many women would be interested in such a thing and would wear google glass to a bar.

I think you've got something, there. Online dating is sub-par, but makes a person's availability clear, while in-person dating can be awkward for some, if you're reluctant to approach/potentially offend folks who (unknown to you) aren't available. In the sense that a wedding ring is a clear sign that someone isn't available, and an icy glare or similar is a clear sign that someone isn't available to you or right now, a technical solution for clearly* sharing that "I am/am not generally available" would be incredibly popular (and potentially profitable.) Not that I'd condone it; just from a money perspective.

*socially, we have tons of indicators, from body language and fashion choices to where and with whom you're spending time in public, but those are always subject to interpretation.
posted by davejay at 12:10 PM on January 10


Having mentioned Komar and Melamid, I feel it behooves me to link to the paintings. They're broken down by country, and for each country there is both a "most wanted" and a "least wanted." They did it pretty thoroughly, actually, surveying people on subject matter, size, color etc.
posted by yoink at 12:14 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


"Yeah, I think that ok Cupid might actually be a killer app, if you have an opt in option where it projects ok Cupid information over people who are nearby you in a place like a bar."

They do something like that, or they did. They have a location-aware part in their app that allows you to see the profiles of people nearby (if they've enabled this).

That would totally work for me if a) I were twenty-five years younger and liked to go out to clubs every night and b) I wanted to meet the kind of people that are thick on the ground and not, sadly, extraordinarily rare.

"So I'd google, I think, if I were going to do something like that. But only once, and only casually..."

I think that limited googling is acceptable. Such as verifying that someone is who they say they are. Maybe looking at the most explicitly public-facing stuff exposed on the net while, in contrast, really digging deep (like finding someone here and then reading through many of their comments) is transgressive.

Basically, I think it has to do with reasonable expectation of privacy. I don't think what you describe is totally reasonable because we already see that people want to live part of their normal social live on the internet and the problem with that is that it's not ephemeral. Okay, so what that means is that they expectations about privacy and cultural norms come into play, just as they do with, say, the windows in our home that people can see into or how people can eavesdrop on our public conversations but the custom is that it's rude to do so.

So there's stuff that you can find about people on the internet that you oughtn't be looking at. The onus should still be on respecting other's privacy, not that they have an affirmative responsibility to protect it. I totally disagree with the contention that this is true in real life, because it's not. There are far more things that we don't actively protect from privacy violations than those we do, we just aren't very aware of them because the social norms make it pretty invisible. People don't take mail out of your mailbox and they don't stand in your yard and listen through the window or whatever. We rely upon people respecting our privacy more than we rely upon external mechanisms to protect it. That's really the only viable solution to internet privacy, too.

Except in the case of institutions like employers, who can be counted on to prioritize their own interests ahead of all other considerations. We need laws in those cases.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:16 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]



From that perspective, I'd be less interested in someone represented indiscriminately online or someone completely absent from search engines, and more interested in someone who has a respectable curated online presence. The willingness and ability (together) to achieve that is, in my mind, similar to someone whose outfits are well put together and call attention to the person rather than themselves.


See, I have relatively little "online presence". I'm sure someone who was at all determined could put together my various online identities pretty easily and find out who I am in the fleshly world, but there is no "online gestalt"....and that's because I don't want to do extra labor, and I am troubled by increasing "homework" requirements like this. I should "curate" a web presence - not too much, not too little! - all of which will be completely artificial because it has to be acceptable both to employers and to potential dates, which means it will be full of lies from both sides, soft-pedalings, key omissions, flattering "up with people" posturing...It's more work, and it's a particular fakey performance kind of work that I find especially exhausting and demoralizing.

It also occurs to me that there's a class angle on this stuff - if you're part of the "creative class" your awesome blog with your burlesque performance videos and your reminiscences of your youth spent getting high in art school will just mark you as "disruptive" enough to fit well into fancy-pants marketing/design jobs. But if you do that and you're working class, it will prevent you from getting hired. Hell, if you have political opinions that can be traced to you and you're working class, it can get you fired. "Careful curation" is a privilege in a lot of ways.

Granted, no one likely to afford Google Glass or work in the creative professions would want to date a secretary anyway, so those folks are unlikely to be disappointed by my web presence.
posted by Frowner at 12:19 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


I should "curate" a web presence - not too much, not too little! - all of which will be completely artificial because it has to be acceptable both to employers and to potential dates, which means it will be full of lies from both sides, soft-pedalings, key omissions, flattering "up with people" posturing...It's more work, and it's a particular fakey performance kind of work that I find especially exhausting and demoralizing.

Not that I fundamentally disagree with your underlying critique here, but I think you're overinterpreting "curate" here. I read it as "does not put racist things on Facebook." That cuts across class lines IME.
posted by PMdixon at 12:50 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


In the morning it turned out he'd hacked Glass...
posted by Segundus at 1:40 PM on January 10


See, I have relatively little "online presence". I'm sure someone who was at all determined could put together my various online identities pretty easily and find out who I am in the fleshly world, but there is no "online gestalt"....and that's because I don't want to do extra labor, and I am troubled by increasing "homework" requirements like this.

I guess each person has their own requirements or whatever, but to me if I did Google a date it would be more for basic fact-checking than to get a sense of them as a person. I mean, why do the latter if I'm going on a date? Thats what a date is for. But if they're claiming to be X Y and Z but the web clearly shows me they aren't, thats a different thing.

Granted, no one likely to afford Google Glass or work in the creative professions would want to date a secretary anyway

This is not true, not only do I know others doing this but my ex-wife and several of my ex-girlfriends are/were working class, and I'm not only probably considered in the "creative class" but am literally wearing Glass as I type this.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:53 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


Whats odd to me about this article is she didn't actually use Glass at all, unless I'm missing something:

She kept the iPhone in her purse, its camera poking out and angled to capture the whole scene. The iPod touch was kept close at hand. The iPhone was connected to Ustream and Ustream was connected to Amazon's Mechanical Turk. The Turk workers had a web form to fill out, which would send texts to the touch.

And then there's some handwavy ideas about how Glass could maybe be involved with this. But the title is somehow about Glass...
posted by wildcrdj at 3:08 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


First off, let me point out that in several states, including the one I live in, what she did was illegal. This is the sort of stuff that multiparty consent laws exist to stop.

But beyond the criminal aspect, this illustrates why people are so worried about Glass. Just because you might be okay with turning your life into a panopticon doesn't mean that the people around you are. And it's not her right to make that decision for everyone else.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:37 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


The bulk of the thing Glass is designed to do are not "turning your life into a panopticon."

Frankly, Glass just doesn't have the battery life to do that.

Your iPhone, on the other hand, is much more likely to be used in this manner. cf. DROPOUTJEEP.
posted by GuyZero at 3:43 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


why people are so worried about Glass.

But shouldn't this be why people are worried about phones? She did not use Glass, she used an iPhone. To me this is an excellent demonstration that there is no new privacy issue with Glass that isn't an issue for smartphones.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:43 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


This is the sort of stuff that multiparty consent laws exist to stop.

Not really. You're right that they apply, but that's not at all the same as saying this is why they're in place. It isn't. We can go back and forth about the ethics of what McCarthy did, but nobody here was harmed and let's not minimize-by-comparison incidents where people are.

The ease with which we can use google to learn about other people somehow makes people believe that the same standards don't apply.

Ease is the right word for sure. Just yesterday I realized my [close relative]'s birthday is this week but I'd forgotten how old he's turning. Then I had a weird thought. Instead of just asking him, I can plug his name and hometown into Google, and on the first page of hits, MyLife.com will tell me how old he is. Google can tell me how old my [close relative] is. Not Facebook. Not something he opted into. Google.

I dunno, that felt like a weird thought at the time. And I feel pretty Internet savvy.

Having said that, I think there's more at work than just ease. And I think that's relevant when we talk about "rights," in a legal sense or otherwise. Social mores shift. They evolve. To some of us, it's unthinkable that someone would be recording a social interaction without announcing it; but in expanding contexts, we're being warned to expect exactly that. It may be the next frontier of the 90s', "If you wouldn't want it on the newspaper's front page, don't put it on the Internet."
posted by cribcage at 6:10 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


If I don't want to be recorded and someone does without telling me, I am harmed. Which is exactly why multiparty consent laws exist.

There is no "back and forth" to be had about the ethics of McCarthy's actions - they are unethical (and potentially criminal). People are not your unassuming guinea pigs for whatever project you might be running.
posted by NoxAeternum at 6:38 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


I wish this article focused less on the implications of her experiment and more on the dates themselves.
posted by hoodrich at 6:39 PM on January 10


PMdixon: Not that I fundamentally disagree with your underlying critique here, but I think you're overinterpreting "curate" here. I read it as "does not put racist things on Facebook." That cuts across class lines IME.

You'd be really surprised what can get you fired or not hired. There have been lots of news articles about people being fired for posting pictures of themselves drinking. Not like super drunk or crazy party pics or anything, just regular drinking. As adults. Someone in my state was fired for appearing in a picture, in a swimsuit, with her boyfriend, on a beach. Like, not a super racy picture, just a regular vacation picture. You can get fired for your political views or even your political party, and it gets more likely the louder you are about it. And of course, it's even easier to get not hired than it is to get fired, and you know some people are using the information to fire people for illegal reasons, like religion.

Bottom line is, it's very difficult to reconcile your online personal with regard to both dating and work. If you google me, I have nothing but work stuff and a walled-off facebook account, so I'd look like the most boring man alive. But really, I don't put other stuff online where just anyone can trivially see it (and most of the work stuff was posted by someone else anyway). I'm sure you could dig it up if you really cared, but going too far in the other direction might alienate my friends, so I don't.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:20 PM on January 10


Granted, no one likely to afford Google Glass or work in the creative professions would want to date a secretary anyway, so those folks are unlikely to be disappointed by my web presence.

Google Glass is interesting: by wearing or displaying it, you are conspicuously advertising your membership in the surveillance society. But doing so also costs a lot of money. You have to be in a certain strata to afford such a display. Portland. Brooklyn. Artist. Developer. Formerly these were professions and locales that housed the subversive. But now their denizens willingly allow themselves to display that they observe others on a behalf of a multinational corporation. I cannot imagine how an artist like Kafka would react to life in the creative sector in this century.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:04 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Google Glass is interesting: by wearing or displaying it, you are conspicuously advertising your membership in the surveillance society.

No more so than using Facebook, installing Foursquare or owing a home security system.

Having used it, "the surveillance society" is about as boring and uninteresting an application of it that I can imagine. I can barely keep up with my holiday photos, do you think I have time to make sense of a full backup of my day in video form? Only insane insomniacs would be able to.

To make analogy, imagine a heart rate monitor you could wear like a wristwatch all the time (not very hard to imagine as you can go out and buy one). If this was brand new to the world it would have a few really amazing applications. But for 99% of the population 99% of the time it would be uninteresting and useless. Glass really isn't that different in application.
posted by GuyZero at 9:51 PM on January 10


So I saw a picture of a surgeon using google glass the other day and that looked pretty cool. But of course people who need their hands free for work having been using heads up displays for a long time. I suppose it's neat that there's one for those of us who have our hands full with our phone and tablet.
posted by Wood at 11:52 PM on January 10


Christ, what a glasshole.
posted by w0mbat at 12:33 PM on January 11


other people are not just there to be part of your personal projects.

They're not?

So that's where I've been going wrong all these years!
posted by flabdablet at 8:16 AM on January 12


But now their denizens willingly allow themselves to display that they observe others on a behalf of a multinational corporation

As does anyone using an Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, Twitter, Facebook, iCloud, Microsoft'sCloudThingyWhoseNameICanNeverRemember, SnapChat, Pinterest, .... anything where people upload or store data about other people (photos being the most common example, since its hard not to occasionally include other people in your photos even if you don't intend to).

There is NOTHING special about Glass. It literally cannot do anything a smartphone can't do. Its just a different form factor, which makes some things easier and some things harder.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:22 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Through A Face Scanner, Darkly
NameTag, an app built for Google Glass by a company called FacialNetwork.com, offers a face scanner for encounters with strangers. You see somebody on the sidewalk and, slipping on your high-tech spectacles, select the app. Snap a photo of a passerby, then wait a minute as the image is sent up to the company’s database and a match is hunted down. The results load in front of your left eye, a selection of personal details that might include someone’s name, occupation, Facebook and/or Twitter profile, and, conveniently, whether there’s a corresponding entry in the national sex-offender registry.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:04 AM on February 1


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