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AP Article On Cyborg Steve Mann 342

Vellmont writes "Slashdots favorite Cyborg, University of Toronto Engineering Professor Steve Mann has an AP article about him out. You can read the article on Salon or Yahoo (as well as many other places). The article is well done, and I particularly love Prof. Mann's way of dealing with stores who prohibit videotaping. Slashdot ran a previous story about Prof. Mann's troubles with Airport Security in March 2002."
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AP Article On Cyborg Steve Mann

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  • by EmCeeHawking ( 720424 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:25PM (#7941540)
    . . . Welcome our new Steve Mann Cyborg overlords.
  • I thought it was Gates of the Borg?
  • by DrJimbo ( 594231 ) * on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:27PM (#7941553)

    From the yahoo story: One of his common setups involves a computer with a Pentium 4 processor, at least 512 gigabytes of memory ...

    Someone might mug him to get that 512 gig of memory. Or even just to get the battery needed to power it.
  • Ummm (Score:5, Funny)

    by clifgriffin ( 676199 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:28PM (#7941558) Homepage
    I'd like to see a bewolf cluster of...hims.

  • Eeeegads! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BoldAC ( 735721 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:30PM (#7941567) much so that going without the apparatus often leaves him feeling nauseous, unsteady, naked

    This is the way I feel too sometimes... if I forget to leave my pager, cell phone, lap-top, sidekick, and laptop behind...

    Honestly though, this guy is addicted to information. If you tried to take google away from me, I would feel the same way. Information is addicted... there's no way around it.

    • Re:Eeeegads! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by saunabad ( 664414 )
      Honestly though, this guy is addicted to information.

      I think this guy is more addicted to publicity than information. I've seen many articles of him, but I still have no idea if he has actually accomplished anything else than just to wear a computer and a camera all the time. No offence to anyone, but what is the point?
      • Re:Eeeegads! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Neop2Lemus ( 683727 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:14PM (#7941805) Journal
        I agree.

        I was at the Toronto Film Festival a few years ago and they'd done a film about him (here) []

        We walked out on that film. What made the hour we sat in that theatre more offensive than interesting was that this guy wore his gear around, really had no idea what to do with it, and had a huge ego because he had toys on his head that other people didn't. It wasen't that it was a hobby: cool, but possibly inapplicable to real life, but that he thought he was onto something important and he wasen't. I mean, he'd walk into a WalMart and set up a fuss when they told him no cameras in the store.

        Why the university keeps him on I have no idea. If someone can tell me, I'd like to know (seriously, I would like to know).

        • Re:Eeeegads! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Trolling4Dollars ( 627073 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:05AM (#7943353) Journal
          Like one of the other posters said, he does appear to have become a little more... pedantic(?) with age. But to be fair, I think this is one of the possible problems with people who are heavily involved with computing.

          I've found myself having a greater amount of trouble interacting and dealing with other people as I've become more and more entrenched in computing. I spend about 12-20 hours a day using computers. Whether it's at work (about 7.5 hours spent there. I don't even go out for lunch anymore.) at home (multiple projects going on here with my systems) or at friends and relatives homes (fixing problems or connecting them to my network via VPN). My general day starts at 8:00AM and ends at about 3:00/4:00AM every day with about 95% of it spent in front of computers.

          The funny thing is that I find myslef becoming so annoyed with people when they claim to know something about computers, but in the end they only know a little bit about one aspect (web design, hardware, specific lnaguages, etc...). What's really funny is that I am completely aware of the fact that I have (in psychology more than anything else) become the "Unix guy". When I first started working with PCs back in the late 90s, I ran into a few "Unix guys" (which Mann seems to be one of) and they annoyed the piss out of me. They seemed arrogant, impatient and generally unpleasant. I never really understood why. (This was also back when I thought Unix was dying) But after getting annoyed with Windows and moving to Linux, and then working with Sun Solaris, Tru64 and HP-UX... well, I started to see a lot of those traits just naturally manifesting themselves within me. I still work hard to maintain a pleasant personality and I don't wear suspenders or have any facial hair, so I'm not 100% the "Unix guy". But I can now understand their frustrations. Here is the key issue: (Note this in your memory banks for future use in arguments) Many of the concepts of Unix are basic computing concepts applicable to ALL platforms that people on ANY platform SHOULD be made aware of IF they really want to know how to use a computer. The frustration of the "Unix guy" is much like that of the parent that has to deal with the 16 year old who just got a driver's license and now thinks they actually know how to drive. (I'm not saying that all users of other platforms are like this, but many are. I've met plenty of really great Windows admins on the net who know as much about basic computing concepts as any other Unix guy.)

          So... I think that Mann's experience is very similar with regard to his take on the world. He's moved ahead in a way. Concepts that are basic to him, are esoteric to the world at large. However, his concepts are a set of meta-realities that many of us have not fully experienced. I will argue that some of us are halfway there though. Just yesterday when I was talking to my wife about my lifelong love of machines over humans, I mentioned to her that to me a computer is an extension of the physical world. Back when I was in high school (1980s) I became instantly aware of how I could move much of what I had in the real world into the computer. That continues to my homelife today. All of my computers here at home are networked and any one of them serves as a head for all the others. I've eliminated cassettes, video tapes, audio cds and dvds from my visible life by keeping them only for backup purposes. They take up less space when they needn't be displayed. Instead, all of my important data is on the home application/file server. I am also slowly moving to a point where the majority of the CPU power will be centralized in a cluster with only a few wireless terminals needed around the house. Ideally one or more of those terminals will be wearable. At that point, the need for much in the way of physical items becomes less useful. What need is there for a television, when I can look anywhere in front of me an watch a movie while surrounded with data that constantly keeps me informed of all things that are per
    • much so that going without the apparatus often leaves him feeling nauseous, unsteady, naked

      That's how I feel when I forget to get dressed in the morning.

  • Internet Link (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vpscolo ( 737900 )
    One thing that I think most people would benefit from is a link to the net, or prehaps better a secure enclopedia. How many times have you thought "I must look up xys" and then forgot. To just have that information at your fingertips would be excellent. However of course it depends on how deep it all llinks in. The last thing you want is a hacker breaking into your brain and controlling you. An army of zombies? No thankyou Rus
    • How about an always-on spellchecker? /. would never be the same.

      On a more serious note, I could see such technology being of use translating languages. Imagine being in Kyoto and having your eyewear being able to highlight where the bathroom was or being able to take a screenshot of the airport name so you don't forget. I'm not saying it would do anything complex but even simple survival translations would be cool.

      Hell, it might even take the risk out of using the toilets.

    • The last thing you want is a hacker breaking into your brain and controlling you.

      Read "Ghost in the Shell" (both 1 and 2) by Shirow Masamune, its one of his key plot points. He does a pretty good job of showing a cybernetically integrated society, and the potential drawbacks to cyborging. In addition his art is very good. See a preview here [] of GitS 2. He's really gotten into using his Mac for 3d imaging and shading lately, he's one of the few artists I've seen who manages to pull it off without look

  • Not a cyborg. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by praksys ( 246544 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:31PM (#7941575)
    He's not a cyborg, unless some of this hardware actually involved surgery or the replacement of biological parts. He's a gargoyle [].
    • Re:Not a cyborg. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Poeir ( 637508 ) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `oeg.rieop'> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:38PM (#7941611) Journal
      But according to this article [], linked to in the summary, some of it is implants, so he is a cyborg.
      • Re:Not a cyborg. (Score:3, Informative)

        by praksys ( 246544 )
        But according to this article, linked to in the summary, some of it is implants, so he is a cyborg.

        According to the slashdot summary maybe, but there was no mention of implants in the orginal NYT article.

        You can't get it from the NYT without paying now, so here is the original text:

        STEVE MANN, an engineering professor at the University of Toronto, has lived as a cyborg for more than 20 years, wearing a web of wires, computers and electronic sensors that are designed to augment his memory, enhance his

      • So the question is then, when do WE get implants. I know there's people on here who want nothing to do with them, but I'm all for wiring myself up.

        Are there any available consumer cybernetics available yet? How about a bioluminescent, subdermal watch? Also, when am I going to be able to go out and buy off the shelf parts to put together my own Gargoyle suit?

        Geek though I may be, I still don't have the technical knowledge to put this stuff all together by myself, but am very fascinated by it.

        Anybody have

    • He's not a cyborg, unless some of this hardware actually involved surgery or the replacement of biological parts.

      I kinda like thinking I'm a cyborg because of my contact lenses. And watch and mobile phone attached to me..
    • The article claims Mann became a cyborg so he could be more human. While I find this guy curious, I fail to see how his wearable stuff makes him more human. He's certainly having more fun than I am, but what is he proving?
  • Is he - (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ir0b0t ( 727703 ) *
    - linked to the net through his gear? I couldn't tell from the story.
  • by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:32PM (#7941583) Homepage
    Video quote:

    "Then he tells the employees that "HIS manager" makes him film public places for HIS security -- how does he know, he tells them, that the fire exits aren't chained shut? -- and that they'll have to talk to HIS manager."

    Of course if he does that in a cinema he will be arrested and sent to a state pen where he will become even more attached (ouch) to his wearable computer thanks to the resident cybernetic surgeon, Joe 'Two Teeth' Bob.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ya see, this is why us hackers (in the original "total freedom of information" sense) taking the long view are so totally opposed to intellectual "property".

    When the computer is so tightly integrated with your mind that it's effectively become a part of you, intellectual "property" law enforcement amounts to thought crime enforcement. And DRM is mind control. Just plain evil.

    The right to know should be a basic human right. The right to say should be a basic human right. And if human is expanded to m
    • This is probably a troll, but to be honest it got me thinking about two things. First, you're taking a slippery slope view of the IP "problem". The computer is, at this point, not integrated with the mind, and probably won't be within our lifetime. And, AFAIK, until the Supreme Court says that copying, sharing, and distributing music files is legal, it remains nominally illegal in the U.S. Moral is another story, but it is as of yet illegal. I don't expect a ruling on this in my lifetime, either.

    • Nor is it wrong for the creator of said information to recieve just compensation for its creation and use. And the law of supply and demand begs to differ with you-- Their information does diminish in value when it can be widely/easily/freely distributed. And I'm sorry, but you don't have a right to know. You don't have a right to know what Cowboy Neil is doing with that sock puppet in the bathroom late at night, let alone distribute information that isn't yours simply because information is free, baby. It'
  • Yeah, yeah. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:34PM (#7941592)
    I think we all know the REAL reason this guy is becoming a cyborg. I think this is all I need to say: GO GO GADGET PENIS!
    • "I think this is all I need to say: GO GO GADGET PENIS!"

      Kind of off-topic, but I couldn't help remember a Shadowrun character I used to play with my friends. He was a dwarf rigger, who lacked any cybernetics (in a campaign full of cyber-munchkins) whatsoever except for a massive hydraulic um.....cybernetic appendage.

      Third leg was an understatement.

      It did 12S water damage, and I've never seen an elven prostitute run screaming in fear like that in all my gaming experience.

  • by jheinen ( 82399 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:35PM (#7941594) Homepage
    "One of his common setups involves a computer with a Pentium 4 processor, at least 512 gigabytes of memory and a specialized operating system based on Linux"

    Wow. Where can I get a box like that that fits under my sweater?
  • "One of his common setups involves a computer with a Pentium 4 processor, at least 512 gigabytes of memory and..."

    512 gig of memory eh? It's not likley to even have that much disk space.

    Mind you, fitting enough power to run that puppy into a wearable PC isn't exactly a minor engineering challenge, it must still be pretty heavy.
  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:38PM (#7941613) Homepage Journal
    Mann, a 41-year-old engineering professor at the University of Toronto, spends hours every day viewing the world through that little monitor in front of his eye -- so much so that going without the apparatus often leaves him feeling nauseous, unsteady, naked.

    I think it's called anxiety. I get it alot when i'm away from my computer, I don't have that clickly click click of the keyboard (it's bordering on OCD now)

    I would also think the nauseous side effects he's experiencing when he takes his headgear off might be what I suffer from too. I think my eyes are used to focusing on my CRT a foot away from my eyes since i'm in front of the PC so much. Also my cochlea in my ear is used to my head not moving so much. When I go outside I get the double whammy of viewing objects that are not in my average focus, and i'm moving around.
    • by KrispyKringle ( 672903 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:30PM (#7941873)
      That doesn't make much sense. By that logic, people who spend a lot of time reading books would have the same issues.

      I would guess his issue is actually that he's become used to focusing his eyes on a screen in front of him when moving around. Ordinarily, feeling motion when not seeing it causes nausia (such as when sitting in a bus or train where there is no visible motion but your inner-ear can feel the motion. This is because (I remember hearing on the Discovery Channel or somesuch) that situation--feeling but not seeing motion--is a symptom of some poisons and your body has evolved to heave up the toxins.

      Anyway, in his case, he has become used to seeing something always in front of his eyes which is not moving, even when walking about. Perhaps the rapid motion of the world around him, when he isn't wearing his glasses, makes him nauseous? Then again, you'd think you'd see this with people who wear glasses, too, when they remove them (I just got a prescription for farsightedness--guess I'm getting old--so I'll be able to tell you shortly).

      Either that or he's just a kook.

      • By that logic, people who spend a lot of time reading books would have the same issues.

        Book reading isn't nearly as monotonous to your body as sitting in front of a CRT though. A book you can change its viewing distance by extending your hands, the light is reflected off the pages wheras a CRT the light is being emitted from the screen itself.

        Books can be read in front of a nice warm fire on a cozy couch. They can be taken to your bathroom for a good read during a nice long sit down.

        CRT's have refresh
    • Scroll down and to see it on the main page for the article...or search for "farrellj"
    • "I think it's called anxiety. I get it alot when i'm away from my computer, I don't have that clickly click click of the keyboard"

      You're not alone. I've absolutely GOT to have access to a computer, even if I don't actually use it, or I start to feel really nervous.

      I'm at the point where if I'm going away for more than a few hours I take my Zaurus and a foldable IRDA keyboard with me. 99% of the time I don't even use it... just knowing that I could...

    • I saw the phrase "@ddicted to slashdot?" in your .sig, and my "delete-spam-now" reflex almost kicked in!
  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:42PM (#7941637) Homepage Journal
    Cyborg? He's not a cybernetic organism, he's guy who lugs around gear.

    He's no more a cyborg than a guy covered in mud is a golem.
  • Uh... since when is someone who wears computer a cyobrg? I was expecting to read about a guy's numerous electronic implants, but...what the hell? Use of computers, whether worn or not, does not qualify one as a "cybernetic organism." Having them as an integrated component of one's being does.
  • by earthforce_1 ( 454968 ) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <1_ecrofhtrae>> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:47PM (#7941660) Journal
    for Borg assimilation.
  • and by the late 1970s, he began experimenting with wearable computers.

    He wore one to a high school dance.

    Must've been quite the ladies' man...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:02PM (#7941745)
    [Steve Mann visualizes: Possible Response - Yes/No / Or what? / You'll have to talk to my manager / Fuck you, asshole / Fuck you.]

    Steve Mann: You'll have to talk to my manager.

  • by Cska Sofia ( 705257 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:03PM (#7941753)
    Since the device only covers one eye, it would surely lead to asymmetrical vision problems. Rather quickly, I'd imagine, given how close the image is.
    • If you actually read information on the eyetap [] device, you'll find that the aremac project and image that "appears to be spatially aligned, and appears at with the same focus as the real world scene." In other words (as is written in the AP article), it can make it seem that images are projected onto real-world objects, rather than appearing to be at a fixed distance. I think this minimizes the vision problems that might occur.

  • I saw parts of one of Mann's documentaries at USENIX in New Orleans a few years ago (1999?), and it was extremely entertaining. Since then, I've been trying to find a place where I can get my hands on a copy. Does anybody know a place that sells these, or a place where I can download them?
  • Yaknow, I'd like to experiment with some of this wearable stuff. In particular, taking video (and audio) unobtrusively as I walk around. However, I don't have the wife's permission^W^W^W means to spend 1000s of bucks on such a gig.

    Are there any cheap A/V "pen" cameras with a wide lens, that output to USB? I'd like to just record for now; having an over-the-eye small lcd display can come later..

  • "Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken."
    - Tyler Durden

  • Borgie Borg (Score:5, Funny)

    by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:25PM (#7941847) Homepage Journal
    When asked how many brothers and sisters he has, his response was "I am third of five."
  • by An Onerous Coward ( 222037 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:28PM (#7941859) Homepage
    The eventual coolness of wearable computers shouldn't be underestimated. Sure, it will start out with bleeding edgers being able to fire off posts to Slashdot using nothing but an elaborate series of eye movements. Early adopters tend to look silly to the rest of us. No shame in that.

    But start combining technologies like mesh networks, cryptographic authentication schemes, GPS, and the like, and imagine where they're going. How cool would it be to walk down any street in the country, and be able to call up the name, location, and menu of every Chinese restaurant within seven blocks? Or pinpoint all the "single and looking" girls at a rock concert who don't identify themselves as cat lovers.

    Imagine walking through a dark parking lot. If someone tries to attack you, one press of a button could notify the police and everyone within a two mile radius of your location.

    In a lot of ways, this means giving up a certain amount of privacy. For example, the distress signal from the last paragraph isn't going to work if anyone, anywhere can hit the panic button anonymously. That's where the cryptographic authentication comes in. There needs to be a way to verify the originator and trustworthiness of a given piece of information, whether it be, "Yes, officer, I'm authorized to drive a motor vehicle," or "Chin Wan's has great stir fry." The infrastructure doesn't exist yet, and it doubtless will never be perfect, but someday it will be at least as trustworthy as asking to see someone's ID.

    Some information will be automatically broadcasted, whether the user likes it or not (wanted for armed robbery). Some of it will be available to cashiers and law enforcement (too young to buy beer). Some of it will be voluntarily made available to the world (likes long walks, sunsets, and jiu-jitsu).

    It's going to be fun to watch these technologies come together. Possibly in a train-wreck fashion.
    • by Saeger ( 456549 ) <farrellj@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:06PM (#7942048) Homepage
      How cool would it be to walk down any street in the country, and be able to call up the name, location, and menu of every Chinese restaurant within seven blocks?

      Very cool, since you could get that information ANONYMOUSLY (in an open mesh network), vs the current cell providers' plans to provide "location based services" because they know exactly who and where you are at all times.

      Augmented reality will open up all kinds of possibilities. Vernor Vinge's short story Fast Times at Fairmont High [] is great take on such a fast-paced and interconnected future.


    • I'm not so sure I agree.

      The problem I have with all of this stuff is that it works the other way, too. First, doing most of the things you were excited about would require a GPS to be tracking your location 24/7. Why would anyone want implants that would allow someone to track every single time they stepped into their bathroom to take a crap?

      another problem I have (with his view in particular) is that he seems to think that advertisers won't notice that people are not viewing their ads. If everyone is
      • by An Onerous Coward ( 222037 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @12:34AM (#7942506) Homepage
        I'm not too worried about the privacy implications, because I don't think anyone could do a deep study into my life without dying of terminal boredom. I think that a lot of privacy loss is inevitable, and won't really be missed. Trying to hide your day to day activities may someday seem as pointless as trying to hide the color of your pants.

        What people won't want to give up is the ability to lie: To say they're going to work when they're really going to a sports bar or a beatnik poetry lounge, or that they're going someplace other than to cheat on their spouse. But it's getting harder and harder to cover your tracks anyways. Caller ID, cell phone bills, and any of a thousand other clues can reveal the truth, while few are savvy enough to cover their tracks.

        What would happen if everyone could know almost everything there was to know about anyone else? I'm not sure, but on average I think that people will stop caring. All the things we think we need to keep secret from everyone else will be revealed as fairly common and trivial. The other extreme is that people may self-censor to the point that nobody ever does anything that would hint of idiosyncrasy.

        I figure these big databases are going to be built anyways, so it may be best if they're simply made public, so that I can know what it's saying about me. Perhaps it could even tell me who has been browsing my information and for what reason. That might cut down somewhat on the overall nosiness of the human race.

        Ninety percent of my concern over these databases is that I won't know how they're being used to manipulate my buying habits. Maybe some sort of "truth in advertising" law would require any advertiser to reveal, upon request, how they came to decide to deliver a given ad to you.

        I have to agree, if ubiquitous connectivity means that I can't walk down the sidewalk without finding out every insipid piece of information about everyone around me, this system will collapse under its own obnoxiousness. I don't see that happening. Instead, I figure that your personal system will intelligently sift through these clouds of information, deciding which things you might want brought to your attention.

        Try to imagine a system that would present the information you wanted, and only when you wanted it. "Computer, please inform me of the presence of any persons of the opposite gender with similar tastes in music. Also, if any slashdotter with a lower UID than me comes around, warn me so that I might pay homage. Finally, I'm looking for something to do this evening, so start collecting suggestions and give me your top ten when I get off work."

        If somebody wants to use the system to publish a detailed explanation of their adventures in stamp collecting, let them. I don't have to see it, and I'm sure there are at least a handful of stamp collectors out there who would love it. Meanwhile, I'll be looking out for people who thoroughly enjoyed "Godel, Escher, Bach" and are willing to give advice on locking down a Linux box. And in the event that "I know CPR" suddenly becomes extremely interesting information, the system is in place to direct me to the interested party.

        As the technology itself gets better, its utility will become directly proportional to how much these systems know about us. It will bring power that everyone will want to wield, often to the detriment of others. We're going to run into all sorts of unexpected problems with this sort of technology. Some problems will require a technological solution, others will require a legal solution. Some may be utterly intractable. I can't claim to know which problems are which.

    • Imagine becoming helpless and crippled because youre battey died. Imagine not being able to remember much of any useful information, because you've never had to. Imagine what this will do to people's already short attention spans.

      Technology is great as a tool, but too many people become dependant on things that should be convieniences.

      But I do like watching the confusion and panic when I tell people I don't have a cell phone.
  • Why not use a PDA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KrispyKringle ( 672903 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:40PM (#7941929)
    According to this [], the current design uses a PC104 100MHz 486 board with all sorts of hacked-up components (4 lithium batteries at like $600 alone). But plenty of PDA's are available at 400MHz or better with decent power consumption, etc.

    Seems to me that that'd be a better place to start. Rewire the LCD output to go to his glasses-screen, find CF modules for things like the video cam, GPS, WiFi, and what-have-you, and you're good. The only big issue I see is the storage space, which, with an IBM microdrive, is probably limited to 5GB or so.

  • by farrellj ( 563 ) * on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:41PM (#7941931) Homepage Journal
    When he gets sick from not viewing the world through his video camera, he is suffering a form the same thing people who spend a lot of time in Virtual Reality do...their brains adapt to the slight lag caused by the electronics, and I theorize that they do so quickly because video is a much "hotter" medium...that is, it is like a firehose for the real visual field that the eye is used to. When that lag is eliminated, by taking the display off, it takes a while to adapt back to the visually cooler natural environment...and until it adapts, your inner ear and your visual perceptions are out of sync, and that can cause nausia. ...based upon observations from being the techie at a Virtual Reality Gameing place for 6 months.

    • Your post reminded me of something I wrote in my diary a while ago:

      "Sometimes I feel I am accelerating in my thought processes. Sounds like a strange proposition, I'll grant you. But I'll try to explain. For quite a while now I have felt that the world seems to be slowing down ever so slightly around me, like The Matrix's bullet time concept. I feel more comfortable driving a car at higher speeds than slower speeds, as an example. Walking through crowds I can anticipate the patterns before they happen, so
  • by Sargerion ( 712886 ) <> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:50PM (#7941973)
    While I admit the whole cyborg thing is cool, with constant information and survailance, I have to say this guy is just a bit paranoid. Especially if he lives in Canada. I mean, sure things aren't always fair between companies and consumers, the people and the government, but he has some fairly absurd ideas. I read the article, and there was a part stating:

    Then he tells the employees that "HIS manager" makes him film public places for HIS security -- how does he know, he tells them, that the fire exits aren't chained shut? -- and that they'll have to talk to HIS manager.

    His behavior in such showdowns generally provokes hostility, confusion or resigned shrugs

    Well, of course it does, because that's ridiculous...

    But don't try telling Mann that the complaining employees are just doing their jobs, and that his real beef is with executives who make store policy. Mann believes everyone should fight The System, those powerful institutions lurking behind the one-way mirrors.

    Oh please, the execs of huge corporations are only human, too. Are you saying that corporations are some kind of sentient beings, having no trace of the true human limbs that support them? Lurking behind one-way mirrors... puu-leese. Sure, corporations are greedy, most don't give a crap about their customers, and they have their own little worlds, but there's humans behind those corporations, not idiot machine-humans like you. In the end, you're probably just as greedy and stupid as the execs are. I can see it now: "All humans who do not conform the cyborg initiative will be assimilated by force. Buy Powerade"

    Not everyone can afford your life style, Mr. Mann, some people have to make an honest living, and can't go around being ridiculous the whole day. Some people aren't going to "fight The System" because they have a family to support and lives to lead. This Professor just needs to get a freakin' life, seriously. I think this is just a case of a guy with absurd ideas having the means to realize his equally bizzare notions that everyone should be walking around like a f**king cyborg in order to be more human.

    A cyborg could, say, take pictures of hostile police officers during a political demonstration and instantly post them on the Web -- to spur others to join in the protest, perhaps, or to simply provide alternative documentation of the scene. Mann calls such postings "glogs" -- short for "cyborg blogs"

    Shut the hell up. Wow. "Glogs"? Who the hell do you think you are? The logical progression of human evolution may indeed be through machine integration, but not right now. Just stop it, you pri*k. You know why they have cameras in stores? So if some punk comes in and robs it, they'll have evidence against them. And why don't they allow cameras in stores? Well, I'm not too sure about that one, but why the hell would you want to video tape in a store anyway? I'm sure the exits are chained up, you paranoid piece of crap. And we have police to keep order, not to beat down innocent citizens. Although that may happen in other countries, you live in CANADA!! Canada you idiot! Probably one of the most passive counties in the world! And if there was a demonstration where people got hurt, there's a good chance they deserved it for being stupid radicals with too much time on their hands, like you (but I'm not against demonstrations. There are entirly legitimate demonstrations to be had, such as one against the Iraq war).

    "Clerks should be confronted with their clerk-iness," Mann says one afternoon in the Deconism Gallery, an electronic-art studio he runs near Toronto's Chinatown"

    WHAT!?! What the hell are you talking about!? What is wrong with you!? Clerk-iness?! You mean their honest day's work to support themselves? Oh, oh, sorry, sorry. Wouldn't want to spoil your perfect world with laggarts who have to support themselves. Far be it from them to ask you for a bit of respect for a freakin' job, at least they're trying. You, on the other hand, were

    • MOD PARENT WAY UP!!! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:25PM (#7942125) Homepage Journal
      Not everyone can afford your life style, Mr. Mann, some people have to make an honest living, and can't go around being ridiculous the whole day. Some people aren't going to "fight The System" because they have a family to support and lives to lead. This Professor just needs to get a freakin' life, seriously.

      Thank you!

      Steve Mann is just a self-impressed geek who lugs around a portable computer. He's not some kind of visionary. His work isn't improving people's lives. It's not making him more intelligent, healthier, more physically capable, or longer-lived. In fact, about the time that he started drifting away to read e-mail while I was talking to him, I'd be tempted to drive that EyeTap 3" back into his cranium -- which couldn't possibly be good for him.

      Why doesn't Steve Mann take some of that energy and apply it towards systems that do real-time text-to-speech for blind people trying to get around in the sighted world? Why doesn't he put some effort towards a system that stimulates muscles so that paralyzed people could perform tasks we take for granted, like picking things up or turning door knobs? No, he's too full of himself to try to actually help someone.
      • Try to think of Mr. Mann's contribution as stemming from merely being a social outlier. Even if his behavior doesn't seem to be doing anyone any good, he's helping by making a lot of very weird people seem normal in comparison. Thus, he paves the path by which oddness becomes mainstream and accepted, and makes our conception of "normal" broader and more flexible.

        Just as a population thrives due to genetic diversity, a society will stagnate without an influx of diversity. And this guy, I have to adm
    • And we have police to keep order, not to beat down innocent citizens. Although that may happen in other countries, you live in CANADA!! Canada you idiot! Probably one of the most passive counties in the world! And if there was a demonstration where people got hurt, there's a good chance they deserved it for being stupid radicals with too much time on their hands, like you

      That's interesting ... Canada has had a few interesting cases of police beating down innocent protestors in Montreal and pepper-spraying

  • by Aqua OS X ( 458522 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:56PM (#7942006)
    If you looking for a way to hold onto that virginity for as long as possible, wearing some of Steve's old outfits might be a good start.

    On the other hand... you could look at porn -everywhere- you walked. :/

    • There is, in general, an inverse relationship between interest in porn and the amount of sexual activity that a person engages in with another real living person. For example, virgins tend to be more fascinated with pornography than nonvirgins.

      This is, of course, a generalization to the extreme, but it is nevertheless still true to that extent.

    • "On the other hand... you could look at porn -everywhere- you walked. :/"

      One can only hope he was smart enough to install that night vision filter for that camera that allowed people to take xray photos. Imagine a live vid feed of that!

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <[moc.talfdren] [ta] [tkram]> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @11:01PM (#7942028) Journal
    They can kick him out of the store for videotaping within the building. He can object all he wants, but unless he's willing to fork over enough money to buy the store, there's nothing he can legally do to stop them from removing him from the premises, calling security if they need to.
    • In Ohio, all they have to do is be playing a copyrighted work on one of their demo TVs, and then they not only could kick him out, but could also detain him while they wait for the police to get there.

      Second offenses of this are a felony.

  • Eventually, he says, everyone will want to be more tightly linked with computers, to enhance our memory and connections to other people.

    Haven't there been studies that show people who use PDAs have worse memory than non-PDA-users? What happens is you just put names, phone numbers, e-mail address, etc. on your PDA, you forget about it and rely on that for all your information.
  • Every thought about what kinds of boring everyday social ramifications come from this sort of thing? Like every girl with be shaved a la Shenade O'Connor in fifty years because hair is so unsexy due to all the wealthy trendsetters having shaved their heads because hair gets in the way of the brainwave-monitoring-wraparound-headset-windows-20 48 must have Rodeo Dr. gadget of the future?

    And of course French women will still have hairy pits.

  • let's see how well he does on battlebots! []

    i'm guessing he would be in the heavyweight class.
  • What are the best wearable computers you can cobble together for $2000, $1500, and $750? (USD)

    Minimal Requirements:

    -single eye head mounted display (like this [])

    -single hand input (like the twiddler [])

    -8 hours battery life


  • "Clerks should be confronted with their clerk-iness", he says, and I have a corollary to this:

    Mentally ill pseudo-cyborgs should be confronted with their pseudo-cyborg mental illness.

    Sorry, I don't think this is a good use of technology. People who talk on cellphones constantly already annoy me enough. From the interview, this guy seems to be using this as a replacement for real human interaction, as well as a good way to feel superior to other people.

    The fact that he wore a wearable computer to a high s
  • So how long until I can find one on the Apple store? :)
  • Cyborgs like the ones in Ghost in the Shell exist... Things like video communication, surfing the web, virtual reality, all in your head. How cool would that be, apart from the fact that if hackers gained access to your brain... censorship via 'interceptors' (think them as a way to allow other people to access your sight, and modifiy it, if possible) and tons of other things.

    But having a cyborg body would be pretty good... just get a new body whenever you get run over by a truck, provided your head is sti
  • ...think he got laid?

A list is only as strong as its weakest link. -- Don Knuth