Meet the Glassholes of SXSW

Mar 10, 2014 at 8:11 AM ET

Every year at South by Southwest, some trend will inevitably trickle through the noise. Last year, the trend was 3D printing. This year, the trend is wearable tech. And the Glassholes are everywhere.

For the uninitiated, Glassholes are the folks you may have seen wandering the streets of San Francisco or New York or Boston sporting eyewear like Geordie La Forge from Star Trek. They are wearing Google Glasses—or, as I like to call them, face computers. Because Google Glasses are voice activated, these people tend to talk to themselves pretty often. This week, they’ve descended upon Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest tech festival. If the collective noun for a group of Glassholes has yet to be defined, may we suggest a “Do Not Want” of Glassholes?

The humans wearing these face computers can use Glass at any given moment to take pictures, record video, peruse their email or summon up Google Maps for directions—just by speaking to their glasses, which are built with an “optical head mounted display.” Even if that moment is in the middle of a busy street, while they’re riding a Segway. And texting on a phone.

The real-world appearance of Project Glass, as it’s known at Google, has prompted a rash of debates around privacy issues, safety issues and even romantic issues. Google even had to ask its own users to stop being creepy. Not sure if that’s been a rip-roaring success (see below).

Those questions don’t even bother me, personally. I just think they look ridiculous.

Today, a panelists in a session titled “Glassholes: The Cultural Dissonance of Technology” dissected this intersection of privacy, legality and design. We’re not here to discuss the heavier issues (just yet, at least).

We’re just here to show you the humans behind the glasses—the ones who call themselves “Explorers.” You may call them whatever you see fit.