Facebook doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to keeping user data private. So when it revealed a few weeks ago that it was working on a prototype wearable computer that would interpret neuroelectrical signals, people had questions. The wearable—still very much just a concept—is designed to be worn on the wrist, where it could read a wearer’s nerve signals through their skin and translate them into device commands. It’s an idea straight out of sci-fi, and one that could actually be useful in VR and AR applications. But why is Facebook, with its massive software portfolio, working on hardware like this in earnest? How much more “connected” should we all be to Facebook apps? And should we trust the company to handle our data responsibly?
This week on Gadget Lab, we interview Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s vice president of augmented and virtual reality and the bigwig behind this prototype wearable. We press him on Facebook’s intent in making hardware, how that hardware can shape social interaction, and whether ever-present connected tech—especially the kind infused with algorithms—can truly be value-neutral these days.
Andrew Bosworth can be found on Twitter @boztank. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.
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