Cyborg: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer

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Doubleday Canada, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
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cyborg, n. a person whose physiological functioning is aided by or dependent upon a mechanical or electronic device.

Steve Mann is a cyborg, and the inventor of the wearable computer, called the WearComp. He sees the world as images imprinted onto his retina by rays of laser light. This allows him to transmit his viewpoint live to the Internet, block out billboards and other unwanted visual stimuli, and turn his world into a series of hyperlinks. Constantly connected to the WearComp system, Mann has all the capabilities of a standard office at his disposal, even as he utilizes shrinking technologies to turn himself into a portable movie studio. The first person to live in total constant intimate contact with the computer, Steve Mann exists at once in the real and virtual worlds, living an entirely videographic existence, seeing everything around him, including himself, through a wearable computer.

Over the past twenty years, Steve Mann has been his own human guinea pig, testing his various wearable computer prototypes on himself. In Cyborg, he uses his own unique experiences to assess the state of wearable computers and their potential impact on our lives, articulating a vision for a tomorrow that sees humanity freer, safer, and smarter in ways most of us can only imagine.

Mann is fascinated by the possibilities of the cyborg future, but he does not shrink away from frankly discussing the dangers of a post-human age in which our computers come to control us. In this unique ground-breaking book, Mann charts the development of a wearable computer industry, and warns of dangers to our liberty, privacy, and democracy. He contrasts those dangers with his own sweeping inclusive vision of a wearable computing age that brings about new ways to teach, learn, make art, communicate, and even think.

Part biography, part breath-taking manifesto, part startling look into the very near future, Cyborg is a powerful book that challenges preconceptions and invites readers to enter the mind of one of the most fascinating thinkers of our time.

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Imaging the Cyborg Revolution
Owning the Cyborg
Reinventing the Cyborg

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About the author (2001)

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Steve Mann has been an inventor since his childhood. He is currently on the faculty of the University of Toronto, where he teaches in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has mediated his experience online, on the World Wide Web with the WearComp device for the last seven years.

Hal Niedzviecki is an award-winning journalist and cultural communicator. He is the author of the book We Want Some Too: Underground Desire and the Re-invention of Mass Culture. His articles and essays have appeared in magazines, newspapers and journals in the United States, Canada and the UK.

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