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'Cyborg' allegedly attacked over camera implants

"Parts of me started shutting down," says professor and self-proclaimed cyborg after an alleged assault at a McDonald's in Paris.

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However, the device was still functioning until Mann had an embarrassing bodily reaction to hitting the street, which caused his circuits to short out.

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Mann said that, after picking himself up and dusting himself off, he sought out Police in the Champs-Elysees area, but none of the many cops he approached was interested in taking a report or investigating. 

"Some of the parts of me started shutting down at different times afterwards," Mann told us in an exclusive email interview. "I'm still online now but a lot is not working."

"After first trying with the Police (no luck) and then the Consulate/Embassies (no luck), and then the legal experts and human rights commissioners (no luck), some of whom suggested 'the court of public opinion,' I finally brought this matter to the public's attention, but only after exhausting all other possibilities," he said.

A representative from McDonald's told us that the company is still investigating the incident.

"We strive to provide a welcoming and enjoyable experience for our customers when they visit our restaurants," the company told us in a statement. "We take the claims and feedback of our customers very seriously. We are in the process of gathering information about this situation and we ask for patience until all of the facts are known."

For his part, Mann said he is not seeking punitive damages, just enough money to fix his EyeTap Glass and perhaps a commitment from McDonald's to support vision research as his glasses are also designed to eventually help people with vision and memory problems.

No matter how this ends, Mann's story raises serious questions about technology and privacy. As we carry cameras with us everywhere we go, the question of where and when we can capture our experiences looms large. In a paper on wearable computing, Mann describes wearable devices and recording as similar to human memory and says that public establishments like businesses should not discriminate against people whose memories are captured by computer devices. He sees a future in which everyone from memory-impaired Alzheimer's patients to healthy adults uses wearable tech as an extended memory.

"The 'Silicon Brain' of the Mindmesh thus asks the question 'is remembering recording?' As more people embrace prosthetic minds, this distinction will disappear. Businesses and other organizations have a legal obligation not to discriminate, and will therefore not be able to prevent individuals from seeing and remembering, whether by natural biological or computational means," he writes in Interaction Design.

For more on how technology intersects daily life, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.


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