Google Glass App to help see taxpayer waste everywhere they look

Developers have come up with an app for Google Glass, called Augmented Advocacy, that would display government wasteful spending in your field of vision, using Google’s head-mounted computer.  Just stand next to a government building, and it will display information in the form of a Glass information card directly in your field of vision.  The app knows where you are, but currently it works only in Washington DC.

This idea, on the surface, looks like a good idea.  It gives the public an easy, quick view of how wasteful the government is with taxpayer’s money, although the information strictly comes from conservatives.  This app would appeal to the Republican, but Democrats may not be very interested in this app.  If it is successful, we may see a similar app come out that may have information submitted by left-wingers.

What’s not clear is how far this app will go.  Will it display information for the public sector only in the future, or will it expand into the private sector as well?  Will it be possible for the common Joe to upload information about, say, the price of houses in a neighborhood?  What would it be like to have friends/coworkers/etc. know how much your house is just by using Glass.  Sure, you can get this information online, but this information could be so much easier to access in the near future.

One Response to Google Glass App to help see taxpayer waste everywhere they look

  1. I have been thinking about this ever since mPlotts first posted it. What an interesting application of Google Glass! I think this is just the tip of the iceberg for the sort of augmented reality apps (“glassware”, I guess) we are going to be seeing soon.

    I think mPlotts is right that this app could go a lot further than it already does. Apps like this need not appeal to just Republicans. Really, they should appeal to anyone who is interested in finding out how much stuff actually costs. Do any of you have even the faintest idea how much a new highway ramp costs? I don’t. It would be interesting (and very educational) to be driving on one and be able to see how much it actually cost. Governments (federal, state, and local) might actually want to implement apps like this to achieve greater transparency.

    I guess one limitation of this would be that such apps wouldn’t help us to see the cost of immaterial things. For instance, when are you actually looking at healthcare, SNAP benefits, bank bailouts, or intelligence gathering? I think these apps would not have much opportunity to educate people about the costs of these things.

    At any rate, here’s another more indirect benefit of apps like this. It is pretty clear that a very large segment of the population is innumerate (like illiterate, except for numbers). Many people have no real sense of the difference between a project that costs $1 million and a project that costs $1 billion — even though this is a difference of three orders of magnitude. Perhaps if people were repeatedly exposed to big numbers, they would begin to get a better sense of what they really mean.

    In sum, I think this sort of technology has the potential to produce enormous educational benefits. This seems very good from a utilitarian standpoint and probably from the perspective of other ethical theories as well.