Cyborg pioneer Steve Mann claims to have been attacked in Paris. Blogger John Biggs writes:
"Upon ordering, McDonald’s employees at 140, Avenue Champs Elysees, Paris accosted Mann and tried to tear the glasses out of his head."
"In short, these McDonald’s employees harassed, intimidated, and damaged Mann nearly irrevocably. Ray Kurzweil, a well known futurist, calls this the first attack on a cyborg in history and Mann’s importances to the field of human-computer interaction can’t be measured. That a pioneer like Mann would be accosted – in Paris, of all places – is a travesty," Biggs continues. (Augmented Reality Explorer Steve Mann Assaulted At Parisian McDonald’s)To me the whole things seems rather silly, and it is not the first time Steve Mann has been in similar situations. He is a prophet, and prophets need attention.
Here is a link to a story I wrote about him back in 2001.
Half Mann, Half Computer
For those of you who read Swedish, please read this blog post about Steve Mann's scuffle at an airport back in 2002. You can find an English news report about the event here! The event is in many ways so similar to the one at McDonalds that you wonder if it has been scripted.
"On that day, Feb. 16, he said, he followed the routine he has used on previous flights. He told the security guards in Toronto that he had already notified the airline about his equipment. He showed them documentation, some of it signed by his doctor, that described the wires and glasses, which he wears every waking minute as part of his internationally renowned research on wearable computers.
On his return flight, he did however run into trouble as Airport security wanted to run his wearable computer through the X-ray machine. He refused and spent two days arguing his Cyborg rights.
“When he was finally allowed to go home, some pieces of equipment were not returned to him, he said, and his glasses were put in the plane's baggage compartment although he warned that cold temperatures there could ruin them.
Without a fully functional system, he said, he found it difficult to navigate normally. He said he fell at least twice in the airport, once passing out after hitting his head on what he described as a pile of fire extinguishers in his way. He boarded the plane in a wheelchair.
‘I felt dizzy and disoriented and went downhill from there,’ he said.”
“Since losing the use of his vision system and computer memory several weeks ago, he said, he cannot concentrate and is behaving differently. He is now undergoing tests to determine whether his brain has been affected by the sudden detachment from the technology.” At Airport Gate, a Cyborg Unplugged, Lisa Guersney, New York Times, March 14, 2002.)