Theoretical Issues of Humanistic Intelligence: From Postmodernism to Pastmodernism in the Cyborg Age of Metaphysical Computing; ISEA98, Sept. 7

Steve Mann University of Toronto

Humanistic Intelligence (HI) is a new field of research that challenges the notion that machines such as cameras should emulate human thought. Instead, HI asserts that humans and machines should be inextricably intertwined in a single synergistic unit where the "intelligence" arises directly because of the human in the feedback loop of some (e.g. photographic) decision-making process as described in

Connected Collective Humanistic Intelligence emerges as a new kind of intelligence when multiple humans are in the feedback loop of this process. CCHI challenges J.G. Ballard's notion that we must choose between social interaction and machine interaction, for it transforms the cyborg entity into part of a community. Moreover CCHI facilitates intimacy and close synergy among individuals separated by vast distances.

Most importantly, however, is the ability of the individual or the collective to re-assert itself in the face of hegemonic forces otherwise stripping us of our dignity and humanistic property.

The following is a list of the 17 slides and what will be said about each

PART 1 (pictures of cameras followed by mann's response to each)
1.  picture of highway traffic camera
2.  mann's "definitely camera" piece

3.  indoor surveillance camera on ceiling, partially hidden by tapered housing
4.  "certainly camera": mann's wearcomp (wearable computer) invention

5.  dome camera ("sphere's looking at you, kid")
6.  "probably camera" (mann's ShootingBackPack)

7.  dark panel camera ("seen through the glass, darkly" by bank machine)
8.  "maybe camera": mann's "firing squad" (cyborgs with darkwindow shirts)

PART 2: REFLECTIONISM; meta reflectionism (literal embodiments of reflectionism)
9.  situationist versus reflectionist (diagram)
10. mann's "mirrorshades" (mirror to society, mirror website, electronic mirror)
11. mirrorshades close up
12. detournement^3  (using the popular press' detournement^2)

PART 3: SUBSERVIENCE EMPOWERMENT (turning fascism and bureaucracy upon itself)
13. likeness piracy poster (if you don't own me, don't use me)
14. softwear license agreement (front)
15. softwear lic. agreement (back): copy softwear; try on hardwear (handcuffs)

16. futurist->dadaist->surrealist->situationist->reflectionist->diffusionist
17. example of one of mann's museum exhibitions (mann's interventions
    re-lived and re-created on mannequins throughout the gallery)

general info on REFLECTIONISM: See Leonardo 31(2), or visit mann's www page:


Author biography

Steve Mann, inventor of WearCam (reality mediator), and WearComp, wearable computer, is currently a faculty member at the University of Toronto.

Steve has been inventing, designing, and building personal imaging systems as a hobby, since his high school days in the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1991 he brought his invention to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and continued this new direction of research there, defining ``Personal Imaging'' as a new field of research there, in which he received his PhD degree from MIT in 1997. His previous degree is Master of Electrical Engineering (MEng) from McMaster University. Steve also holds undergraduate degrees in physics (BSc) and electrical engineering (BEng) from McMaster University.

He was guest-editor of a special issue on wearable computing and personal imaging in Personal Technologies journal, one of four organizers of the ACM's first international workshop on wearable computing, publications chair for the IEEE international symposium on wearable computing (ISWC-97), and gave the keynote address for the first International Conference on Wearable Computing (ICWC98).

His present research interests include quantagraphic imaging, lightspace rendering, and wearable, tetherless computer-mediated photography. He is currently setting up a new "Humanistic Intelligence" lab to "invent the camera of the future", and is now looking for graduate students and staff for this project.

Steve is interested in both the visual and interrogative arts and his work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums from 1985 to present. However, much of his current artistic efforts take on a "surveillance situationist" approach, outside the tradational domain of the gallery or museum; see: or