O'Reilly Webcast: Cyborg Anthropology: A Short Introduction

all right thank you can everyone hear me I think that is a yes great excellent so hello everyone my name is Amber case and I am a cyborg anthropologist so how I got into the cyborg anthropology is that when I was very little I was obsessed with Science and Technology space and time compression all the things that kids get really excited about because there’s you know gravity and there’s there’s black holes and there are all these really exciting things the problem is that a lot of people don’t understand you know how did how to deal like in terms of Technology people aren’t adopting it because it’s kind of ugly or strange so this is kind of the environment in which I grew up and when I went to college I went to a philosophy Kolak William and one of the presenters there who would later be my thesis adviser said I’m going to give a presentation on cyborg anthropology and I said oh my gosh that’s exactly what I want to do when I grow up I later wrote my thesis on on cell phones and their techno social sites of engagement and this is what kind of brought me here today so this is a short introduction I’m going to go as fast as I can a lot of it will be analogies some Theory thrown in and a bunch of different topics that that are covered because of that I’ll have a lot of time for questions at the end hopefully and you can ask me pretty much anything you want so here we go so when people think of cyborgs they often think of robots and they think of a terminator and they think of all sorts of different things like that the thing is that we’re already cyborgs I’ll explain that later so we’ll get through the idea that not everything has to be a terminator or evil in order to be a cyborg so where did the idea of cyborgs anthropology come from so in 1991 Donna Haraway posted the idea of she proposed the term cyborg anthropology to study the relationship between machine and human and that it should proceed by provocatively Rican sieving the border relations among specific humans other organisms and machines and so late 20th century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous it’s the difference between natural and artificial minded bodies so developing and externally designed so this caused a big amount of chaos and excitement in the anthropology field so much so that a number of people decided that they wanted to make cyborg anthropology a sub-discipline of anthropology and so they proposed a cyborg anthropology at the American Anthropological Association in 1992 and they got it passed which means that cyborg anthropology is an actual legitimate field of study now but before that starting in 1941 there were the mating meetings and these Macy meetings talked about the effects of Technology on humanity and very famous anthropologists were present such as Margaret Mead or Gregory Bateson and they discussed that technology was going to have an enormous impact on humanity and that they better start trying to combine anthropology and the study of science together in one they talked a lot especially about cybernetics and so there’s been a long history technically of anthropologists studying human culture through technology although it hasn’t been brought to light too much until now because it’s only been now that technology has seeped into the fabric of everyday reality so past applications of cyborg anthropology reproductive technology the idea that you no longer reproduce by yourself you go into a hospital you get all sorts of fourth-dimensional scans to see inside your stomach and at the end you’re hooked up to a machine while you while you give birth cancer research artificial intelligence systems genetics clinics all of these can be studied by a bio cyborg anthropology because it’s a study of science and humans and technology and how they affect how we interact with each other so current applications are you dudes of boundaries of Technology and humanity and how they’re blurring together the most important topics being privacy identity and connectivity at Intel there is a group of anthropologists called people in places group and they study mobile technology in different countries and how that affects people there’s user experience design the fact that we’re now an interface culture that we deal with all these interfaces all the time it’s the quality of those interfaces that allow us to interact with them or not and so this is just a second and thinking getting a Skype call in the background I’m just going to ignore it and then digital phenomenology the idea of a digital phenomenology is how we actually feel when we’re online what we are experiencing when we’re online and how that produces our identity then information dispersal storage and retrieval how we’re putting our memories into other devices and how we’re

retrieving them and then finally physiological effects of Technology on humans what happens if we stay up too late on the internet do we get something called junk sleep do we get fatigues do our spines start to compress because we’re sitting in chairs all the time so these are some of the questions that our that will be addressed well traditional anthropology is quite simple compared to cyborg anthropology because traditionally an anthropologist goes to another country and they say hey guess what these people are really different the culture is amazing look at the tools they are fascinating and then they write a report they say look how different these people are isn’t it amazing and everybody says oh yes that is incredible thank you for your research the problem is that it doesn’t take into account the you know the idea of an anthropologist looking at their own world and saying whoa what’s going on there are these cell phones in everyone’s pockets and they’re doing really strange stuff and we don’t really understand what’s going on but we need to have a way to understand what’s going on marine week.you who is it a science fiction author said that soon perhaps it will be impossible to tell where humans end and machines begin so if you look at this kid on the cell phone that part of somebody’s identity is stored in that cell phone if that’s his grandmother that he’s talking to he’s talking to a techno social representation of his grandmother and so where does the grandmother end and the grandmother begin the grandmother is 50% there in real life but also 50% there on the phone because her voice is traveling all across the United States did you get to this kid’s ear so this kid is actually on an actor network of TechKnow social hybrids he’s becoming part cyborg in order to hear longer distances in order to hear his grandmother’s voice so in cyborgs anthropology we study networks of humans and technology and we study it by saying hey look this is everyday life what’s changing especially what’s changing in childhood because if you want to see where our culture is going you look at how childhood has changed so this presentation will cover how technology has changed individuality time and space community the public in the private work in play so first off we are all cyborgs Donna Haraway talked about the idea that we’re low tech cyborgs because we’re not connected all the time but at anytime we have the capability of connecting so what is the term cyborg come from it’s an organism to which exogenously the purpose of adapting to new environments it came from a 1960 paper on space travel so if you think of adapting to environments you have this really toxic insane environment of space and you have to attach all these external devices to yourself in order to survive in space but traditionally tools were created in order to extend the capability of the fist or to extend the capability of the tooth and if we look at devices especially early devices we see that the devices you know the hammer hasn’t changed over time in you know in 3,000 years the shape and form and purpose of a hammer hasn’t changed at all and this has been something that we’ve been able to use it’s very simple all right now this extends the capability of the physical self if you look at computers the form has changed dramatically in a very short period of time and why is this because instead of extending the capabilities of the physical self the computer is extending the capabilities of the mental self and what the mental self is is not this physical tangible thing it’s this kind of immaterial thing that no one can see so what we’re seeing is that buttons are evaporating computers are getting smaller and smaller and interfaces are liquefying what does this mean well this is that if you look at a button and you press the button in a traditional computer and the button breaks you have to go and rewire it you can only have one button do one thing but on an AI or on a liquid crystal display a button can be anywhere software can be rewritten so that buttons are in different places so this means that the button and the interface is actually liquefying what was solid has evaporated into air of course there are some discontents with prosthetics if we look at the idea of a phone these things can break a lot and if you suddenly get stuck in a place and your phone has no battery it’s kind of like your ear has been disabled that you suddenly have a disability and unless you borrow somebody’s techno social network capability by borrowing their phone you’re kind of out of the loop Freud talked about this in his book civilization and its discontents he warned of a possible future in which the magnificence of humans as prosthetic gods is tempered by the ill-fitting and troublesome nature of our auxilary organs if you keep a device for too long if you keep a pair of clothing for too long it starts to turn against you if you keep a car for too long it starts to decay and become really awful to be inside in the same way if you keep a

cell phone this does the same thing so our our civilization has these prosthetics that people keep buying and buying and buying and it ends up becoming that we have to keep replacing them in order to keep up with fellow people so what’s happening now is that instead of just keeping up with objects we’re keeping up with systems within objects and systems within those there’s kind of a fractal production of value going on if you think about buying a device you have to upgrade that device upgrade that devices internal operating system and then you have to update applications within that device it looks like a fractal it’s a it’s an update with an update within an update within an update and these updates get continuously smaller so instead of a 0.4 instead of like a you know an update of you know operating system for it’s it’s an application within that system that’s update point zero six point zero seven and you’re constantly downloading updates so the other thing is that the there’s this idea of frictionless value production that anybody can create something of value now that if you have a meme and you created you sure about it it’s very easy to produce because you don’t have to produce that somebody else can produce that and so when you have value so easily created you have something that goes towards a value crisis now we saw this on Facebook when everybody started making applications and inviting people to each application after a while people’s inboxes begin to fill up with stem and this became absolutely insane because people couldn’t handle this and all of these things were reproducing themselves constantly and so Facebook was kind of an a value crisis it had kind of a tumor going on where there was this this reproduced valueless pieces of architecture that kept showing up and requesting the the viewership of the of people who were on the interface and so what they had to do is they had to collapse all of his requests into little categories and put them behind a box and allow you to ignore all of them at once or else architecture Facebook would kind of fall through this was one of the first value crisis’s though that we’ve been able to see in this new economy the other problems that you have to get rid of all your external prosthetic devices humans are very weird I don’t think if humans is mammals because they shed more often than mammals people shed every day all of their clothing when they go and take a shower and then they put on new external devices they shed their their ears buy phones they shed their eyes when they get new monitors they get glasses and the problem is that when you shed devices unlike trees which shed Leafs and help create new trees we’re not helping to really create new trees we’re helping to create new devices so we have this kind of forest of devices that’s growing up around us if you look at Photoshop tools overtimes is kind of this geological history of what the tools look like and how they’ve morphed over time and they changed just a little bit each time and because everything is changing so quickly some people can get left behind and sometimes information systems can get really confused so sometimes we end up failing and it gets very strange because it’s amazing things work at all because there are all these people in different systems that are trying to communicate with each other and sometimes the systems overlap so now I’d like to talk about participation architecture Tim O’Reilly use this phrase that architecture of participation to describe the nature of systems that are designed for user contribution so we’re dealing with all these systems right now on the web especially in the social networks so the reason that we can enter into systems and enter information and have a kind of second self is that the shape of a space online affects how one can contribute and how one can represent themselves so anthropologist Dana Boyd researched teams and social networks and found that there were class differences and and income differences between teams on MySpace and those who migrated to Facebook and the difference was in how each networked allowed one to present themselves and on Twitter one is represented by text so that’s a completely different participation architecture and status is open and updates are controlled by users but Facebook’s architecture morphs its users so we become these kind of consumptive creatures on Facebook we eavesdrops on we eavesdrop on people and so a good software project or social network can be seen to have a natural architecture of participation this seeing the senior user experience designer in Google had this great quote that social networks don’t necessarily create more connections but they make existing connections for visible that we already have all these connections in real life but it just kind of stores them in text so that we can see them so a lot of technology is making the invisible visible and the visible completely invisible so there are these boundary extensions that happen online so there’s this book written by Erving Goffman in 1956 called the presentation of self in

everyday life and in it he talked about the different ways in which people presented themselves depending on the situation that they were in so for instance two children whispering to each other act differently toward each other than they might towards their parents and in the same way a person might construct their professional self very differently from what they would at home and so the same user experience designer at Google drew this diagram of the friends in real life right and and and offline so if you look at the offline group the same person can have some present new your some surfing friends some family some college friends but the problem is that online there are no boundaries between each of these people especially on Facebook everybody gets jumbled into the same place so what you what the status update that should go to just the New York friends in real life ends up going to all of the friends or say somebody has friends that go out and party all the time then those status updates start to get very very just they melt into each other right so this is this is a really big problem that’s going on because privacy and boundaries aren’t maintained and so people have to really think about what they’re posting online because they know that there are multiple audiences for it instead of just the people that they intended for so this presentation of self and digital life has to be taken into consideration all the time how do you present yourself in digital life what kind of clothes are you wearing on Twitter the clothes that you wear are in the form of text on Facebook the clothes that you wear that represent your identity are in the form of photos so these boundaries are blurring together so if you think of your friend list you have family friends colleagues in public in the order of importance and if you look at the present day you have many people in the public almost an infinite people then you have colleagues friends and family itself and that self is more and very important and family’s very important but on social networks these aren’t really formalized in a hierarchy they’re all blended together and given almost equal importance and that’s some of the problems that are going on with social networks right now so we think about our behavior in public and it isn’t always bounded by where we are so only people with a certain distance can see what we do so now this isn’t strictly true the problem is that social networks that we’re creating online don’t match the social networks we already have offline so if you’re creating a social network maintaining one’s privacy should be a top priority because this is you know having all these boundaries blend together is like taking the roof off of someone’s house and looking at and in saying hey what’s what’s going on so when you create your second self you have to make sure to house it and in a digital way make sure that those extensions don’t extend out everywhere and go forever not in the same way that you have to you know wake up in the morning and make sure that you’re protected and make sure that you know you close yourself you have to do that with your digital self and protect yourself that way so privacy on Facebook is has had run into a number of really bad things because of this so identity protection in the second self so now if you co-create yourself with a digital advice you you develop an identity in relation to others and this identity is either interesting or not interesting if it’s interesting there’s an ocular convergence or a set of ritual attention that one can attach itself to and this gives a certain amount of gravity to a person with respect to others but your status updates have to be technically attractive to viewers or also your identity loses gravity so identity production is conscious it’s the production of identity through action whether the action is physical mental virtual or both and psychologist sherry Turkle was one of the first to use the phrase second self to identify our bodies in virtual space so she consider the computer not to be a tool but as an extension of the psychological and social self in reality and cyberspace allows one to sample the self that is choose which pieces of the self to present the self with so you can represent yourself as a drunk or as a professional depending on what you want to do and a personal experience as thousands of moments every day and the moments one chooses to report are the ones that shape one’s identity so let’s talk about privacy and in public spaces so in 1995 Mark O’Shea wrote this book called non Places and introduction to super modernity so all long titles aside he talked about the idea of a place he said a place is something in which one has identity relation and history and according to O’Shea places like airports and subways were not places because they offer the individual no identity relation or history they are only places betwixt and between here and there they’re transitory places that you go through in order to get from one place to another the thing is that a mobile individual and a nomadic individual spends more and more time in these non places like airport security lines and the

individual self reaches out for something to do so this is why pod devices such as iPhones and portable music players have become so popular because they provide us with a reconnection to something familiar when we wade through the endless corridors and interface changes of airports and public transit you can see non places at work in a traffic jam everyone has the same feelings here they’re all frustrated but they’re not actually connected they’re separated by their exoskeletons so no one can set foot on a highway you have to close yourself in an exoskeleton in order to go very fast right so in this case many people have to use cellphones or music to reconnect themselves to a place or relation or identity to somebody because there’s none of that present on the highway and these techno social interaction allows people to transcend their physical state there the heaviness of being a fully rendered physical body that’s stuck in traffic and if your physical self is stuck in traffic then your mental self can go elsewhere and assisted assisted by a techno social device so in the same way the moderate individual trans passes through transitory places and the only way to reconnect the self to a place is used to use a phone or mobile device so the public space instead of becoming public has thus become a private one where private conversations text and music are carried on by individuals as they go from one place to another so let’s talk about time and space compression now so the Internet has drastically reduced the time of space it takes to create and experience events and time so this image was created by David Harvey to reflect how small our world has become with each technological advance in the 1500s he talks about the this average speed of horse-drawn coach the world is still pretty big it takes a long time to get from one place to another but by the 1960s a jet passenger aircraft can transport someone at 500 to 700 miles an hour this is intense and makes the world very small and with a phone you can stand on one side of the world whisper something and be heard on the other although the fastest planes can travel at the speed of sound a hyperlink can travel near the speed of light so on Facebook one can become instantly connected to somebody in another what does this mean it means that geography is annihilated and if geography is annihilated if it doesn’t matter anymore then this map is already outdated what is a more accurate representation of what our techno social world looks like so if you look at how fast the traditional way to get from one place to another the shortest distance is aligned to points Megamind you have a curved distance and maybe you make an arc and that’s the shortest distance between two points but online you can bend time in space a hyperlink bends time in space so you can get someplace without ever having set out you don’t have to actually go somewhere you click a button and you’re connected so what we’re doing with right now is when you click on a phone if you click and make a phone call you’re making a techno social wormhole from yourself to another self and when you hit the exit button or the cancel call button you’re making that wormhole go back to the natural state so what we’re doing is poking holes into our reality and connecting with each other faster and faster and faster what does that mean it means that we have something that I like to call some a simultaneous time now simultaneous time means that you can live in multiple time segments at once what does this look like well it looks like having multiple IMS on your screen being in a meeting at the same time talking to somebody on the phone while watching TV being on Facebook being on Twitter all of these things have different people from different places in different time zones all connecting at the same time so we’re having this idea of simultaneous time time that’s being experienced by many people at once instead of being experienced by people that that are in certain time zones and experiencing that time zone or that natural time there’s compressed areas of time and they’re all happening at different rates so what happens when this happens is the psychological effects start to happen so we’re spending more and more of our time in what Linda’s tone calls continual continuous partial attention or presence light the idea of one’s presence being sort of there in many places instead of being completely there in one place so this is kind related to multitasking when you’re multitasking the brain doesn’t store related memories in one piece but in small pieces and this causes performance and recall to suffer so one can easily see this when installing software when leaving other programs running or downloading a bunch of images and storing them in different places all over hard drives a computer’s memory gets fragmented much like a brain becomes fragmented and Mental Hygiene becomes difficult but important in environments like these so over time the capability for your brain to absorb something in one sitting like a book or absorb a whole narrative for time or to understand what a long period of time and experiencing that is ends up suffering and ends up going by the

wayside and so you get this kind of panic architecture where you have all these different things coming at you at once and they never stop the idea of email is kind of like in that scene and I Love Lucy where there’s a chocolate assembly line and she’s trying to package all the chocolate into boxes but she can’t do it so we have these simultaneous time sequences and they see these things acting on simultaneous time and they’re all interacting with each other dipping and pointing to us and asking us for attention so I call this panic architecture and this contributes to social punctuation that we have our regular moments and our real-time and we’re getting punctuated by this panic architecture and and we’re hitting our phones all the time and checking these things and it’s because techno social connectivity is seeping into every part of the social relations so this was Lisa came up with this idea of ambient intimacy not that we’re always connected but we always have the ability to connect where connectivities only button push away that we’re sharing and connecting with each other is not defined by geography but techno social capability David Weinberger called it continual partial relationship and Johnny more pointed out that it’s not about being poked and prodded it’s about exposing more surface area for people to connect with and my friend Sheldon renin calls it loosely but deeply entangled but whatever you call it it is a higher order of connectivity that we’ve never experienced before as humans we are beginning to see a new sense of time the collective now so the techno social womb is kind of a term that that what we’re really seeing is that everything becomes a button click away we’re more we are mobile but we’re just we need just-in-time information in our mothers wombs everything came to us without us having to go anywhere and now it’s the same with the smartphone even though we move around in time and space we can increasingly access social and entertainment via via a single device so Facebook is really a spreadsheet game it brings it has a successful participation architecture because it brings everything to you through understanding what you’re interested in so instead of going out of your way to pick up the phone write a letter or look at somebody’s blog all the relevant status updates are brought right to you many are unrelated but the architecture of Facebook is very good at formatting that data into small enough chunks to where anything becomes interesting so in reality Facebook is a giant spreadsheet with a billion rows of data and when you log on it shows you the cells that have changed that I’ve that are interested to you and spreadsheets have thus never been so successful at gaining an audience so there’s this automatic production of space going on online we’ve put all sorts of things into computers photos software writing etc and reality when you put a bunch of pictures into a room that room gets full but when you put information into a hard drives a hard drive stays the same weight and when you put information into the internet you don’t feel the weight at all the weight is being stored somewhere else so if you take all the material out of the average computer and print it out what you get and this agency named Cutwater did this in a campaign for Mac store they took eight years of digital photos printing them out and stuck them together and this is what it looked like so instead of real memories we’re beginning to have these hyperlinked memories we’re beginning to have a memory but we’re storing it in an external device so digital anthropologist Michael reg talked about a bunch of kids getting together to hang out and reality the kids try to one-up each other with the best stories and in this case they were trying to link each other to the best YouTube videos so memories have become hyperlinks to get to these hyperlinked memories we have to become increasingly skilled virtual paleontologists the email inbox is the best example of this every day our memories and data is covered by a new layer of dust and spam and items to be responded to and if we need something from our past we must dig through these newly accumulated items in order to get it but instead of using a hammer and chisel brush and filled notebook we have to use keywords and search results tags and categories so now let’s talk about work at work and play so reality is not always fun reality is not always fast but suddenly reality can become plus five points and suddenly reality is five stars so what’s the difference what’s going on here well there’s this idea of accelerated rewards going on this is why the virtual space and virtual gaming are more addictive in a more attractive in the regular world and realize the time and space between goals and accomplishments is often large so for some it’s physically impossible to achieve certain things like purchasing a Ferrari or rising above middle management in a career path online gaming especially sites like farmville step in and they take care of that void so as we’re as somebody who doesn’t have enough money or time or room for real garden farmville gives you one without the backing labor all reality is cases replaced by small icons and time is suddenly compressed so that goals and accomplishments are right next to one another everything has a point value and a reward when real life takes so long to reward something online gaming is often

better and more enjoyable alternative and so for those who spend a lot of time in reality Foursquare is a good add-on for making the mundane and exciting so what we’re doing is we’re just socially gaming in the reputation economy one levels up or down after gaining losing friends or followers and on people on Twitter people with similar stats can relate to one other so we have plus one friend plus one follower and this this leveling up society where we’re having social stats the quantitative self and we’ve had techno social training wheels the Tamagotchi was one of the first major virtual pets to hit the market and since its introduction in 1996 over 70 million Tamagotchis have been sold so the toy is pretty simple and children and teens feed train and clean up their virtual pet after pressing a few buttons on the screen and then in return the pet occurs older so teams take the toys in school and they feed them and basically the device acts kind of like a real thing because it has needs and it grows and it dies and each of these aspects cause toy owners to become mentally attached but the thing is that we have very similar devices now because we have to maintain friendships or they fade away so now the cell phone like the Tamagotchi is a virtual way to feed relationships friends may be fed by bretton button presses and looked after and a mobile phone cries and has to be picked up and soothe it back to sleep and when it runs out of battery power it must be said and because the mobile phone requires attention it too resembles a living creature cell phones now live in our pockets and wake us up in the morning they are our dashboards for interfacing with friends family in appointments they connect us to the database on now on which we now live so the internet is playground this Factory is the best fate is the best phrase I’ve come up with to describe what’s going on in the virtual and physical worlds so Foursquare makes it so every venue in real life has point value at Facebook and Twitter turn everyday interactions into historical text that every moment of play is also a moment of work each additional review each status update and every Foursquare check-in is work and because it’s fun there’s no friction to contributing but it still work the Facebook database is updated by millions of unpaid workers every day voluntarily contributing their content in order to receive responses and content in a read and release of oxytocin that comes with the community’s response to their contribution the more one contributes to Facebook the more information Facebook has on human interest in behavior and the more information Facebook has the more advertisers on Facebook pay for access to a demographic data so we can say that Facebook has a very sticky participation architecture once in it’s really hard to get out and it’s one of the easiest and sticky just ways to create a second self so what next we covered a lot of topics here let’s try a short scenario from the future let’s talk about GPS ubiquitous computing query reduction time and space so let’s say you schedule meeting for 3 p.m. you think it’s the precise time and expect the meaning to occur at that time and then there’s this uncertainty of sue’s so you the person could show up at any time but you don’t know and as this moment gets closer you realize that you really don’t know where that person is so when will they show up there’s no way to know it’s very frustrating so what happens is on the way people are asking you know I’m asking where are you on my way I’m stuck in traffic five minutes late five minutes doesn’t really say anything about time so texting while biking if somebody’s trying to get to their texting while biking texting while in a car it’s very difficult so these redundant messages can be eliminated if you know where someone is so you can use the real-time GPS map send it to them a half an hour before the appointment and they can see where you are so this reduces all these queries and actions so how does it work a GPS enabled phone sends data to the server at regular intervals and you can see over time where somebody’s been and if you have two people in the system you can see that you know somebody’s point four miles away from somebody else so the interface disappears the actions are reduced queries are eliminated you don’t have to keep texting back and forth to find somebody so regular augmented reality looks like this it’s very exciting it’s very visual but when in reality what ends up actually happening you end up using Google because it’s the same thing over time so a successful interface makes itself invisible it gets out of the way and helps you live your life like electricity in your house it’s push-button technology but what if you didn’t have to push the button what if you predefined a place as your house and when your GPS enabled phone got within the region of that house your lights turned on and when it left that region your lights turned off so then your phone will become a remote control for reality so you can have other uses for real-time data people could leave you a note at a place instead of on you so when you got into that place you would get a note you can actually try this right now I have this set up at case organic calm so you note you can have contextual notifications you can leave your note at a store that says buy batteries you can leave your note that says hey welcome to the San Francisco take this train to get

to your destination and when you’re getting nearer to that destination you can have your address get texted to you instead of having to look in your email account each time you want to find the address at your location what if you could develop a standard for cross-platform location sharing that would allow anybody to contribute instead of competing with each other they could collaborate with each other what about if you could wave find with a haptic compass this is a compass belt that has piezoelectric motors that buzz when you’re facing north you can wear it on your bike and then you can always know which way is north and find it easier to navigate so you could have this idea of non-visual augmented reality with location-based check-ins based on GPS data but has this already been done yes it’s already been done let’s look at augmented reality history if you read this paper called webcams it’s about a wearable camera it was invented by this guy he used to walk around the MIT campus wearing 80 pounds of computing equipment it took him an entire year to convince somebody else to wear this with him but he knew that over time instead of having to contort to a computer and sit in the desk the computer would conform to him and by 1998 everything fit conveniently in a pair of very trendy looking sunglasses and now everything is very very very small and he can see overlays onto reality he also uses this one-handed input device so that he can walk around and type while he walks so he came up some types of caught of augmented reality so what I just talked to you about before with GPS and SMS is collaborative shared reality what Steve Mann came up with is called diminished reality he said I hate billboards they suck there’s somebody else’s message he said what if I recognized with my heads-up display that the boards were rectangles and I displayed my own information on them so he was able to take all the billboards and filter them out in reality he was able to go into a grocery store and filter out all the brands and then only get the ones that he wanted recognition processing and replacement he also left himself contextual notifications at stores like remember to pick up the milk and the in 1995 so this is the same thing that’s going on that now we all have access to we don’t have to build $500,000 worth of devices we can just use our GPS enabled phone and suddenly have the ability to leave ourself notes in locations but what happens is that there’s these persistent architectures in the way Doug Engelbart invented the mouse in 1965 and he didn’t expect everybody to keep using it he thought something else better would replace it but it didn’t we have this persistent architecture in the way that keeps us from innovating so some conclusions people think of cyborgs anthropology is something about the future and it’s not we’ve already become bored so people think of that humans become more alien like in the future but it’s not that it’s more about human beings being able to be whatever they are of course there’s still the good in the bad the struggle continues but the one thing that we’ve learned in the last 15 years is that the advanced things that we think are highly technological are actually natural the mechanics of networks are found throughout the world and all things really do want to be connected whether they’re atoms or highly developed organic systems so you can’t have photosynthesis without molecular connection and cooperation and people want to work together things want to work together and matter wants to work together because its job is made easier when its environment acts in a cooperative way so whether it’s well singing across 2,000 miles of liquid to join up and meet somewhere or a few hundred interested individuals from all over the world and sending an online webinar to discuss the future of humans and technology so I was first attracted to cyborg anthropology because I was attracted to a better future but what I learned is that cyborg anthropology isn’t looking at the future it’s just a way of trying to understand what’s going around us in and what might happen as a result so because of this cyborg anthropology will eventually absorb all of anthropology because anthropology is nothing more than a chronicle at humankind and its relationship and cultural reaction tools and how our tools are evolving much faster than we are so we can use it to understand our world and each other or we can let our prosthetics move us either way technology as in the beginning will continue to to co-create it and we will co-create it so this is this is the end of my presentation thank you you can Twitter me my slides are at slideshare.net if you want to learn more cyborgs anthropology is actually very slowly a new newly developing discipline I’m writing a lot about it at cyborg anthropology comm and geo loci is the non visual augmented reality with SMS and GPS that I was talking about and on October 2nd in Portland there will be a conference on the future of humans in technology called cyborg camp you can see that cyborg camp dot-com so so I should probably answer some questions here yeah we’ve all for coming to this presentation great ok Kevin no Anitha is there a glossary compiled these terms

and cantos see go ahead so Kevin okay so Kevin das is is there a glossary compiled for these terms of concepts yes if you go to the cyborg anthropology comm there’s a link to a glossary and it’s a glossary and of terms that have been putting together and has all these terms that I covered in the presentation Alex Fowler says isn’t the tabla clip in soon going to replace the mouse yes I would say so I would also say that buttons will evaporate and become more of where you are and the just-in-time information that you need so so hand gestures and natural movements will replace that do I have any recommendations for related gait reading on gaming and social networks says Joey Spooner yes if you read a book called critical play it’s a high-level Theory book that talks about gaming and social networks and it is incredible it talks about the history of games if you think about the willow fortune it’s actually just hangman right so all really successful games just go back to some natural thing if you think of Foursquare it’s a bunch of dogs peeing on fire hydrants and whoever is the top dog with the best scent NP is the most is the mayor and also all these dogs go around the block and see where the other dogs have been so it’s very much like a territory game let’s see Carlos Ramirez what part of my brain is really being used here is it taking up space otherwise required a function better in society so there’s this kind of a problem with with technology if you’re connected all the time there’s a certain psychological reaction that you have when you’re not having any stimulus like you know right before you go to sleep when you’re staring out into space when you’re looking at a window and when you’re on the computer all the time it reduces the amount of capability to to be in those types of places to have your brain not be stimulated all the time this is kind of why I like airplanes because there’s no connectivity so kids who grow up without any rest from technology are going to have a very difficult time concentrating and a difficult time living in non compressed time and space because they’ll always expect something to happen Gigi says from one-click living we begin to lose track of context as part of the message or relationship but mark asks or do we expand our notion of context oh right okay so in a way that I understand this question sometimes you can have something like a tweet it’s completely removed from context or we can expand our notion of context so the thing is that we can look at that tweet and we can understand you said it and we can reconstitute that context through which it was said so we just kind of understand that we’re going in the middle of people’s lives on Twitter on Facebook but we can reconstitute that context based on what we know about that person let’s see Jeremiah Prairie Hill our digital anthro Gurfein methods appropriate for cyborg anthropology or does this discipline have its own research methods I would say that you can apply any traditional anthropological method to cyborgs anthropology and it will work perfectly digital ethnography works just fine if you if you pick up a handbook on a qualitative research methods there’s a book called this it has traditional anthropology methods that work beautifully online because online really you’re you’re looking at different tribes and you’re looking at the the top influences in those tribes you’re looking for the lead format you’re looking for the leader and and you’re looking for how people construct the terminology around things so it’s the same as is as in real life you’re just using different anthropology you’re using different tools to get to those places so in cyborg anthropology the field becomes the digital space or the space in which people and Technology exist and so you use the same practices that you do in actual anthropology to study it Jeanne Beker asks if the interface disappears in favor of the right thing happening ie lights going on or off how does the right thing get determined so I would say that you have some control over sitting what the right thing is or you you adopt an interface that knows the right things for you for instance if you’re on an interface that gives you a bunch of useless information like if Foursquare keeps giving you updates the domain anything to you or or people on Twitter keep giving you endless status updates at their location you can unfollow them this is another choice so so over time you’re curating your reality for instance that lights in my houses do go on and off based on when I enter or leave the GPS area of my house because I’ve set that as a trigger actually Erin Preki has set that as a trigger and and so you just kind of choose over time and it’s not perfect right it’s this it’s this very microscopic evolving system of

choosing and not choosing certain things Laura Clem says how will different experiences such as iPhone or blackberry create a gap between people doesn’t intellectual property of different interfaces need to get out of the way oh yes this is this is what I was talking about and talking about developing it a standard for location sharing across different platforms if there are standards open standards they the interface won’t matter but it will create a reliable user experience so that people know when they’re thrown into a certain place what they’re supposed to do anyway just good interface design in general it doesn’t matter what platform you’re on people went throwing into a new interface will know exactly what to do and they’ll know that in order to get something done they won’t have to press as many buttons and go through as many interface Changez because that information that they need will be brought right to them Jesse Zdenek says what impact will the mass customization of interfaces have on our interactions so that’s kind of interesting thing well we can all just tailor our interactions to what we want but in a way it won’t be that everyone will be able to tailor their interactions all the time that a few innovative people will be able to do so and then there will be a bunch of people who just deal with the technology as is for instance a lot of people just have pcs and they just deal with the technology and then there’s a lot of people who actively tailor and curate their technology and their information all the time and specialize it so it just depends on the degree to which people are are actively doing that how much education they have in that area and and how innovative they are at doing that Kenny says what is your experience with people with disabilities using technology or becoming residents in virtual worlds this is incredible because if you’re disabled to say you can’t speak or you can’t hear technology is the easiest way to connect to people it’s an incredible way to do it because suddenly if you’re you know paralyzed you can go into virtual reality and suddenly walk around and visit people from all over the world the idea of a physical tangible self the limitations of that is suddenly transformed into something where you can use technology to empower yourself so everybody that I’ve talked to or heard about or stories that I’ve read about people with disabilities Union technology have always been extremely good when I was in crutches and I broke my ankle I was able to connect to everybody as if I were actually almost there just from my phone and it felt wonderful because instead of being in a hospital ruin alone I had you know my Twitter followers in there and it was wonderful Laura says will the advancements in the extension of self and cyberspace create gaps that will widen the age generation gap I would say so in a way and not in a way it really depends on the person so I know like you know 68 year olds who are extremely good at technology much better than I am and I know little kids who don’t understand technology and they’re scared of it so real depends on the person the age generation gap yes childhood will change quite a bit some people will keep up with it as adults some people won’t what I’m really worried about is that kids will just take it for granted and that they’ll just kind of absorb it but of course there will always be kids you question it and make new software and are innovative because they objectively step back see what’s really going on and then make new experiences based on that let’s see what of the interface between cybernetics and and animals besides humans I’m not sure how to answer that yet because I haven’t studied that enough but I should study that in the future and add it to cyborg and apology wiki and if you come up with anything Rorion rat Kista please send me an email Sergio de Leon what are threats and strengths of our children cyborg experienced expect to yield for their future so the threats and strengths so one of the threats is that you have to in addition to growing up as a teenager and being awkward and creating yourself you have to also create your second self and so there are threats to that second self in the same way that you’re you create a security fence around your house or create a privacy system you have to make sure that you do that online and kids are going to have to learn that really quick the other thing is that kids not running around and playing aren’t aren’t understanding you know the three dimensions of their physiological self and being denied that their their brains might not develop in in the spatial way that they could be developing let’s see I think I think I answered as many questions as I can in the amount of time so I tried to talk as quickly as I could I’ll feel free to email me feel free to send me information that I can add to sub organ through Polycom there’s syllabus there are syllabi on the site so if you’re a professor or teacher you can actually just take those those syllabus and those reading materials and

you can use them for your class if you do please let me know and I can help you find more information or materials there’s also a reading list on there if you’re interested in reading books about cyborg anthropology in the future so thank you so much everyone for listening to me for a full hour this was fantastic amber thanks so much for the great presentation great thanks all right bye everyone I just want to thank all the attendees as well there was a lot of great information shared in the chat room so thanks everyone for their contribution to the event and as I mentioned before we’ll have a recording of this available shortly probably take a day or two for us to get that edited and posted but we’ll send drawn email as soon as it’s ready that’s about it so in just a few seconds I will close out the meeting thanks again for joining us thank