On the invention of the telephone by Johann Philipp Reis (apparently there’s some controversy on the true inventor) in 1876, written in the NYTimes:
It is an unpleasant task to point out a possibly sinister purpose on the part of an inventor of conceded genius and ostensibly benevolent intentions. Nevertheless, a patriotic regard for the success of our approaching Centennial celebration renders it necessary to warn the managers of the Philadelphia Exhibition that the telephone may really be a device of the enemies of the Republic.
On the release of Google Glass, written on Hacker News*:
I am crossing my fingers that we just stop at smart phones, and this never takes off. But I’m scared, because in the back of my head I am pretty certain it will. Eventually there will be no strangers, and there will be no friends. Everyone’s name will be public, and nobody will get to know each other. Despite your dinky little social networks and social apps, you are forgetting what it is to actually know someone.
The fear of the potential social impact of a new technology found in preserved commentaries seems quite silly a hundred years later, doesn’t it? The introduction of new, disruptive gadgets have continually changed the way we live and communicate. Regardless of this, humans still manage to get together in groups, oftentimes in great pursuits such as adult kickball and cornhole leagues. Technology will never kill social interaction, as human livelihood is deeply rooted in it, however I think it has altered it. I will agree that technology is very good at taking away our focus away from personal interactions—smartphones can be very distracting. It’s easy to reflexively check badges, alerts and notifications from the half-dozen communication apps installed on your phone. That said, I am a firm believer that as creators of these technologies, we have control over them. You can disable push notifications. You can turn off your phone. It is all up to you. Innovative consumer technologies such as Google Glass should not be feared, but approached with the confidence that it doesn’t control your behavior, because after all, you’ll probably have to take it off to play dodgeball.
*I realize quoting a commenter on a social news website is akin to putting an empty beer can on display in your mantle, however, I have seen this sentiment towards Google Glass elsewhere.