Steve Mann Goes to McDonalds

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Image of Augmented Reality and Wearable Computing pioneer Steve Mann wearing his "eye tapp" computer vision system

TORONTO, 18 July — O Canada’s Russ Martin reports that University of Toronto professor Steve Mann, inventor of “Eye Tap” AR technology and a computer vision wearer for 34 years, may have become the world’s first cybernetic hate crime victim when he was allegedly assaulted by McDonald’s employees in Paris on 1 July.

I don’t imagine it will become routine for fast food employees to assault the coming wave of Google Glass, or Apple Glass, or Bang & Olufsen Glass wearers, but I also don’t expect the substantial portion of our culture that just hates photography to simply roll over on that issue. Lawrence Lessig famously said that culture finds a way around bad laws, and his Creative Commons routing around outdated and problematic IP law is a perfect example. Still, it’s not like the copyright trolls have vanished.

This Steve Mann incident makes me wonder if “Glass” manufacturers won’t strike a deal with the Art Museums, Fast Food Restaurants, and other purveyors of secrecy and closedness that devices will be “Digital Rights Enhanced” to allow those who control a space, say McDonald’s or MOMA, to disable the camera on visitors “Glass” while they are on the institution’s private property. Members of the media who have special permission could have their status elevated from “visitor virus” to “visiting antibody” and their camera reenabled.

Sci Fi? Dystopian? Crazy?

Sure. Read about what happened to Steve Mann in Paris this summer and draw your own conclusions:

Steve Mann McDonald’s Altercation / O Canada

Steve Mann’s Blog / Physical assault by McDonald’s for wearing Digital Eye Glass

The Price of a Chicken Wrap / TechnoBuffalo

iRez posts on Augmented Reality

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