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Steve Mann says he’s the world’s first cyborg — and that you’ll join him as one pretty soon.

“It’s kind of obvious that everyone is moving along that trajectory,” Mann told The New York Times in an interview published on Tuesday.

Mann, a professor at the University of Toronto, is a big figure in the world of wearable computing, which he pioneered in the 1980s. His most recent project is EyeTap, a camera attached to his face that records what he sees.

Mann believes it won’t be very long until the likes of Apple and RIM follow Google’s lead and introduce their own head-mounted displays. This battle, he says, will eventually eclipse the smartphone one that the companies are waging right now.

This rise won’t be without its complications, of course — and Mann would know. In what was called the world’s first cybernetic hate crime, staffers at a Paris McDonald’s last month attempted to tear Mann’s EyeTap glasses from his face, which they said weren’t allowed in the restaurant.

While the employes denied the claims, Mann, a cyborg with a camera in his eye, had what he claimed was photographic proof of the incident.

The events raised some big questions about the imminent emergence of cyborgs, many of which Mann talks about in his interview with The Times. One of these concerns was over the question of privacy in a world where everyone has cameras on their heads.

“If you and I were to meet in a coffee shop and you had an audio recorder in your pocket, what’s the difference than if you had a photographic memory and could remember the entire conversation?” he said.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


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