The Ethics Of Digital Content: These ‘Switch Off’ Sunglasses Block Out All Screens

Words: Joshua Greenwood
Feature Image: Philipe Cavalcante

These sunglasses designed to allow us to “live in real life” call for a needed conversation on the ethics of the fast-growing digital content consumption we are subject to.

Artist Ivan Cash is developing innovative technology in the form of sunglasses. With the help of a new global collective, IRL, the sunglasses are specifically designed to block LCD and LED screens. This means that, for instance, if you’re walking down Times Square in New York all the commercial screens will appear blank. The glasses are an early experiment with the aim to give people more control over the digital world.

On the concept of the sunglasses, Cash commented:

“We’re seeing such a shift in our habits as humans, and I think it’s really worth taking a step back and not just unthinkingly embracing the digital world, but questioning it”.

Digital content is consumed by us nearly constantly, and, with large brands such as Google and Samsung and their Google Glass and Virtual Reality headsets are trying to convince us to integrate the digital world into our everyday lives, However, several studies have been conducted in which technology, especially social media has been discovered to be causing anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying and body image issues. Additionally, Internet and technology addictions are becoming more common with specialised courses and rehab centres being set up to tackle these issues.

Ivan Cash’s glasses project may seem like quite a bold move due to how much digital screens and devices have been incorporated into our daily lives, but with the negative impacts caused by the surplus of technology, maybe it’s time to think about taking time away from the digital world and essentially put ourselves on aeroplane mode.

Interested? See the IRL sunglasses pledge on Kickstarter here.