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SXSW Interactive 2014

Glassholes: The Cultural Dissonance of Technology

As technology advances with leaps and bounds, there are theories that human interactions may be suffering. We've all been in social situations where everyone is heads down on their mobile devices, abandoning real world communication for digital. The ability to capture, document or research every waking moment is leading us to disconnect from each other in favor of the immediacy of technology. How does this impact the way we navigate the world? How do we continue to use technology without blocking out the world around us? How can technology actually help us enhance our real-world interactions? In this panel we'll discuss how advances like Google Glass are leapfrogging our established social norms, and we'll investigate how to cultivate new cultural norms in order to restore humanity to the technology.

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  1. Will use of wearable technology diminish the quality of our social interactions? Lack of eye contact, awkward pauses, distraction, shortened attention span, hyper awareness of object. It may be awkward to ask someone to take them off.
  2. How will this change our rules of etiquette? some theorize that society will write the rules for "glass holes" just like they did when cell phones came about and bluetooth devices.
  3. How will privacy concerns change the way we relate to each other? There is a concern that people will documented or spied on unknowingly, with ease. The amount of data the google glass can gather is also alarming to many people.
  4. Are there potential neurological health implications? Safety of head device always on, ability to process things in real time, lack of social interaction leading to other health problems.
  5. Implications for journalism and advertising? Geo-targeting and data collection for both disciplines presents new opportunities as well as very real concerns and challenges.


  • Elise Hu, Technology reporter, NPR
  • jeff small, Director of Creative Technology, JWT
  • Jill Randell, Sr. Business Development Manager, Google
  • patrick aguilar, User Experience Lead, The Home Depot


sunni thompson, Associate Digital Strategy Director, JWT

Meta Information:

  • Tags: culture, technology
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Social and Relationships
  • Level: Intermediate
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