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Steve Mann's wearable computer and reality mediator inventions of the 1970s have evolved into what look like ordinary eyeglasses

On Friday, October 23, 1998 from 4:00 - 5:30, Steve Mann, inventor of WearComp/WearCam (wearable computer invention with wearable camera), made a free public keynote presentation titled I am a Camera: Humanistic Intelligence is the Medium; our Everyday Living is the Message. On Saturday, October 24, 1998 during the day, our speakers presented their extensions of McLuhan. During the evening, a spirited banquet featured Derrick de Kerckhove debating Arthur Kroker on Understanding New Media: Connected Intelligence or Digital Delirium? On Sunday, new scholars presented their work and the McLuhan Program International was launched.

I AM A CAMERA: Humanistic Intelligence is the medium; our everyday living is the message

Just as:

  • wheel is extension of leg, and
  • radio is extension of voice,

So is:*the camera an extension of the eye,

  • the computer an extension of the brain, and wiring, circuits, and the internet an extension of the nervous system.

WearComp/WearCam (wearable computer, wearable camera) experiments/inventions of 1970s and early 1980s:

  • made above metaphor a reality
  • transformed body into not just a camera, but also a networked cyborg entity.
  • body thus became a `photoborg' entity: cybernetic organism always seeking best picture, in all facets of ordinary day--to--day living.
  • mediated reality: altered perception of vision used to attain a better understanding of light and shade.
  • mediated reality applications: toward personal solitude and the prevention of the Theft of Solitude. Preventing the Theft of Attention.
  • later evolved to Wearable Wireless Webcam, early 1990s experiment in connectivity and shared visual space.
  • Invention evolved in coming years.
  • clothing=extension of our skin: when endowed with networked computational capability, becomes social fabric of community.
  • neighbourhoods of people who are cameras could also reduce crime, and serve as alternative to Orwellian world of ubiquitous surveillance

Spoken at: Many Dimensions: The Extensions of Marshall McLuhan