Social Cyborg

Cases, Tools, Methodology, Ethics, Law

social cyborg
social cyborg

Case Studies

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The AXON (Autonomous eXtended on-Officer Network) by Taser Intl, Inc. About US$1,000. (See product page )

San Jose Police Trying Video Camera Headsets (KTVU , 12/19/2009)
SAN JOSE -- On Friday, a handful of San Jose police officers began three months of sporting a sophisticated audio-video recording device that Chief of Police Rob Davis described as "the way of the future" for law enforcement.

California city's police to wear head-mounted cameras (TODAYonline , 12/21/2009)
The cameras are the size of a Bluetooth cell phone earpiece and attach by a headband above the ear. San Jose is the first major American city to try the devices. Each kit costs US$1,700 ($2,300), plus a US$99 per officer monthly fee, which amounts to US$4 million department-wide each year.

Axon head-mounted camera records what police see when they keep an eye on Mayberry (Engadget , 12/30/09)
A Fort Smith, Arkansas officer was cleared of any wrongdoing in the death of a man who had threatened his wife with a handgun. The policeman was wearing an Axon camera at the time, which the county prosecutor said that the video allowed him to "observe what happened with complete objectivity." The Axon system includes a Linux-powered tablet PC, an eye-level HeadCam that records audio and video (using IR in low-light), and a corresponding account on, an online, real time app for accessing and analyzing the data -- sure to become law enforcement's third favorite web portal (after Sprint's GPS data dispersal site and Garfield Minus Garfield).

Taser Builds AXON Cop Headcams to Fend Off Abuse Allegations (Popular Mechanics , 06/30/2008)
The AXON isn't the first attempt at a body-mounted surveillance system. In the past two years, pilot programs involving headcams on police in the United Kingdom have shown promising results. Footage recorded by officers in the city of Plymouth, in southwest England, was particularly useful in public disorder cases. Offenders who might normally dispute the charge were essentially shamed into silence after later watching videos of their own drunken conduct. [...] During these trial runs, headcam-wearing British officers wore CCTV (close-circuit TV) signs on their uniforms and had to notify the people they interacted with that they were being recorded.

Police launch head-camera scheme (BBC News , 06/11/2007)
Police in the west of Scotland will don head-mounted cameras to help fight crime during a new pilot scheme.
"The camera provides additional corroboration and protection for officers without restricting his or her actions or movements." - Supt Iain Gordon

The Devon & Cornwall Police (UK) even has their Constabulary Police Dogs wearing head cameras for building searches.

Useful Quotes (via )
“I'm preaching to the choir here in Silicon Valley. I don't see how this is anything but revolutionary” SOURCE: KTVU

“We're out in public anyway” SOURCE: KTVU

“It really reduces the amount of time we spend determining if an officer did something wrong, or didn't” SOURCE: KTVU

“They just think it’s an earpiece” SOURCE: EIDEARD

“We're making it so it has cachet.” SOURCE: THE SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

“The AXON project is unfortunately a positive thing right now because the level of distrust is so high” SOURCE: THE SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

“I used it this morning in making an arrest ... It verified what I saw.” SOURCE: THE SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

“When an officer hits a button on the machine, it can track the audio and the video for everything they're seeing” SOURCE: CBS 5

“Once a video has been captured, it can never be altered, deleted or removed from the system by the officer” SOURCE: PC WORLD


A simple definition of a person's self image is their answer to this question - "What do you believe people think about you?" A more technical term for self image that is commonly used by social and cognitive psychologists is self-schema. Like any schema, self-schemas store information and influence the way we think and remember. For example, research indicates that information which refers to the self is preferentially encoded and recalled in memory tests, a phenomenon known as "Self-Referential Encoding" (Rogers et al. 1977). As it is a relative objective measure, it is generally measured against crowd leaders, such as celebrities

Residual Self Image
Residual self image is the concept that individuals tend to think of themselves as projecting a certain appearance. In psychology, use of the term is often linked with periods of radical transformation, in which a person may still see themselves as occupying their pre-transformative role. The term was popularized in fiction by the Matrix series, where persons who existed in a digitally created world would subconsciously maintain the physical appearance that they had become accustomed to projecting.

Self-Awareness Theory
Self-Awareness Theory states that when we focus our attention on ourselves, we evaluate and compare our current behavior to our internal standards and values. We become self-conscious as objective evaluators of ourselves. Various emotional states are intensified by self-awareness, and people sometimes try to reduce or escape it through things like television, video games, alcohol, drugs, etc. People are more likely to align their behavior with their standards when made self-aware. People will be negatively affected if they don’t live up to their personal standards. Various environmental cues and situations induce awareness of the self, such as mirrors, an audience, or being videotaped or recorded. These cues also increase accuracy of personal memory.

Communication as Energy Transfer

Alex Rivera, the director behind the futuristic thriller Sleep Dealer, talks to Wired senior editor Nancy Miller about the next trend in moviemaking: third-world sci-fi. Tele-presence imagined as a means for cheap labor in the south (Mexico) benefiting the markets in the North (America). Envisioned as communicating energy from one place to another. See

Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964) by Marshall McLuhan

LED Contact Lenses
Guardian: Prototype contact lenses that include LEDs and circuits could become a tiny personal display

VeoGeo: Video + GPS

Google's Facial Recognition

Video as Text
theorycast.16 :: Adrian Miles on the Missing Link in Videoblogs

Granularity of Video
Video thumbnails: My attempt at preempting viewers (see videoblogging week graphic)

Motionbox: Scan through video thumbnails

Searchability of Video
MetaVid: Full-text search using Closed Caption

EveryZing: "Speech to Text" audio / video search demo

Blinkx: "Matrix" video wall

Blinkx: Technology

Example - Viddler: theorycast.25 :: Modcentric and our donuts adventure

Beyond Video; Transferring Full Sensory Experiences
Strange Days (capturing full experience, not merely visual, audio stimuli)

Lifecasting: A step forward

Operator11 (thanks Ben Koe)

external image 496705276_3e0bc83437_m.jpgVideo as Memory Prosthetic
Alex Halavais on Panveillance

How to never forget: The story behind Kevin’s wearable cameras

The New Yorker: Remember This? (Microsoft Gorden Bell's MyLifeBits)

Surveillance Culture
external image wro_buffalo_cameras_map.jpgS.F. video cameras don't deter crime, study shows
by Heather Knight on Friday, March 21, 2008
A new UC Berkeley study of San Francisco's 68 security cameras appears to indicate what many city officials have long suspected: The controversial devices perched at the city's roughest street corners don't have much of an effect on violent crime.

Surveillance Cameras In Buffalo (see Google Map)
Op-Ed: City Video Surveillance May Carry High Privacy Cost (Buffalo News)
By John A. Curr III on May 1, 2008
"Before embracing 24-hour video surveillance of public streets, Buffalo residents should consider whether constant police monitoring is worth the loss of privacy... while video images may assist in some criminal investigations after the fact, there is little evidence to support the contention that video surveillance cameras actually deter crime."

Unofficial Subject Guide to Cyborg Anthropology

more to come...