Steve Mann is sometimes called the first cyborg. Other times he is called the cyborg Luddite because of the stress he puts on choosing which technologies to embrace and which ones to abandon in order to be in harmony with nature. Whatever the case may be, I was super happy to get him on Singularity 1 on 1.
During our conversation with Steve we cover a wide variety of topics such as: his early interest in both nature and technology; his MIT thesis on humanistic intelligence; his digital eye glass EyeTap camera and display technology; his inventing and usage of HDR imaging technology; augmented reality, mediated reality, augmediated reality and the long and short-term adaptation issues thereof; rethinking the relationship between nature and technology; why he is sometimes called the cyborg Luddite and his call to use less of televisions, elevators, automobiles and air-conditioning; his take on the technological singularity; surveillance and sousveillance; existemology - existential epistomology, learning by doing and learning by being; the hydraulophone; the differences between live blogging, logging and glogging.
My two most favorite quotes that I will take away from this interview with Dr. Mann are:
"I am not saying more or less technology - I am saying appropriate technology. Instead of technological excess - we should have technology that is balanced with nature. Instead of replacing nature with technology - we should balance it. Instead of replacing intelligence with artificial intelligence - we should use humanistic intelligence..."
"I think that the only way we are ever going to understand AI is through HI. I think that the only way we are ever going to understand computers is to become a computer. And I think that the only way to understand measurement (at least as children) is to become the ruler."
(As always you can listen to or download the audio file above or scroll down and watch the video interview in full.)
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Steve Mann playing a hydraulophone and explaining the differences between different models.
Steve Mann and Ryan Janzen Hydraulophone Duet
Socrates and Steve Mann playing duet on the Hydraulophone (sort of)
Who is Steve Mann?
Steve Mann has been described by the media as "the world's first cyborg" and was named "the father of wearable computing" at the IEEE ISSCC in February 2000 for his invention of Mediated Reality (predecessor of Augmented Reality), and also invented HDR and panoramics (U.S. Pat.s 5828793+5706416) now implemented in most cameras including Apple iPhone. He also invented the neckworn sensor camera like the one now manufactured by Microsoft.
Mann creates interventions+inventions to combine art+science+technology, with emphasis on interplay between technology and nature. Mann is the inventor of the hydraulophone, awarded numerous patents, the world's first musical instrument to make sound from vibrations in liquid (other instruments make sound from vibrations in solids or gases), won first place in the Coram International Sustainable Design Award, and is the recipient of the 2004 Leonardo Award for Excellence.
Mann has written more than 200 publications+books+patents, and his work and inventions have has been shown at the Smithsonian Institute, National Museum of American History, The Science Museum (Wellcome Wing, opening with Her Majesty The Queen June 2000), MoMA (New York), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Triennale di Milano, Austin Museum of Art, and San Francisco Art Institute.
He has been featured by AP News, New York Times, LA-Times, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, WiReD, NBC, ABC, CNN, David Letterman (#6 on Letterman's Top Ten), CBC-TV, CBS, Scientific American, Scientific American Frontiers, Discovery Channel, Byte, Reuters, New Scientist, Rolling Stone, and BBC.