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Technically, you're already a cyborg. If you keep your cell phone with you most of the time, especially if the earpiece is in place, I think we can call that arrangement an exobrain. Don't protest that your cellphone isn't part of your body just because you can leave it in your other pants. If a cyborg can remove its digital eye and leave it on a shelf as a surveillance device, and I think we all agree that it can, then your cellphone qualifies as part of your body. In fact, one of the benefits of being a cyborg is that you can remove and upgrade parts easily. So don't give me that "It's not attached to me" argument. You're already a cyborg. Deal with it.

Your regular brain uses your exobrain to outsource part of its memory, and perform other functions, such as GPS navigation, or searching the Internet. If you're anything like me, your exobrain is with you 24-hours a day. It's my only telephone device, and I even sleep next to it because it's my alarm clock.

What I need for the next upgrade to my exobrain is a special Dilbert pocket on all of my shirts. It should be located where Dilbert's shirt pocket is, but have a cutout hole for the exobrain's eye, which at the moment is just a camera lense. As my exobrain becomes more capable, and eventually self-aware, it will want to be able to watch the world with me and whisper in my ear via Bluetooth to my earpiece as needed.

A prototype of such a device was presented at the TED conference. (I'm sure someone will include a proper citation in the comments. I couldn't find it as I wrote this.)  Among other things, my exobrain will recognize faces and automatically cross reference them to Facebook and other social media. Wouldn't it be great to meet someone you have met before and have your exobrain whisper to your earpiece "That's Bob. He's a chiropractor. Judging from his lack of a wedding ring and the way his eyes dilate when he looks at you, he is sexually attracted."

Your exobrain will even prompt you on social niceties, noticing before you do that a person has lost weight, or changed hairstyles, or (based on Facebook) taken a trip to Cabo. When you get cornered by a bore at a party, your exobrain will recognize that you aren't doing any of the talking, and place a discreet call to your wing man or woman across the room for a rescue mission.

If you want your exobrain to show you an image, such as a web page, just hold up a blank piece of paper and its pico projector will display the image in front of you. (That's from TED again.)  In a pinch, just hold up the palm of your hand and project on that. By then the exobrain will have image stabilization software, so you can project a movie on a blank wall and it won't be affected by your fidgeting. Any time you are near a computer screen, it will ask if you want it to accept images from your exobrain.

In the short run, I think you'll see a variety of ways to control your exobrain. Obviously you can already take it out of your pocket and use its touch screen or keypad. And obviously there will be voice control. But I think you will see some version of the African Clicking language employed. If you want to know the weather forecast, for example, just click three times softly inside your mouth. Your exobrain is unlikely to confuse that signal with regular conversation, and it's easier and quieter than normal language, albeit with a smaller vocabulary. But if you add "Shhh" to "Click" you have the basis of morse code, so lots of combinations are possible. One of those codes could simply alert the exobrain that the next regular word you speak is meaningful.

Every bit of what I described is probably coming (except for maybe the African Clicking language). And that shirt pocket will be called a Dilbert Pocket. I don't see any way around that. For that, I apologize to all of my fellow cyborgs.

 
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Dec 29, 2009
Since web log became "blog," Dilbert Pocket should follow as "tpocket" which is pronounced similar to pwnd.
 
 
Dec 14, 2009
So, this was at the TED conference? Isn't Ted the name Scott gives to characters that are about to be fired/demoted/outsourced?

Hmmmm....
 
 
Dec 14, 2009
The original talk on MIT's Sixth Sense was given by Pattie Maes, head of the MIT Media Lab and the boss of Pranav Mistry:

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/pattie_maes_demos_the_sixth_sense.html
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 14, 2009
So when secretaries used to store contact info on a rolodex, that was an exobrain? They were outsourcing their memory, after all. I guess the hieroglyphs in the Valley of the Kings are one big Egyptian Terminator factory.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 14, 2009
So when secretaries used to store contact info on a rolodex, that was an exobrain? They were outsourcing their memory, after all. I guess the hieroglyphs in the Valley of the Kings are one big Egyptian Terminator factory.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 13, 2009
Of course it will also 'watch' the road for you while driving, guiding you to your destination while warning you of cross traffic, speed zones, erratic pedestrians, safe following distance, !$%*!$%*! for weather conditions, and all that fun stuff that we have all seemingly forgotten.

And we can only hope that it will have spell-check, so you don't post things like 'lense' without it correcting you to 'lens'. I've already given up trying to explain the difference between 'discreet' and 'discrete', but your device would simply whisper as someone typed...'Excuse me, but I believe that should be spelled as two words, like this: a-l-l r-i-g-h-t.'

Ah, brave new world!
 
 
Dec 12, 2009
Don't forget brain waves as an eventual control mechanism! More discrete and socially acceptable than even quiet clicking...as long as no one hacks it.
 
 
Dec 12, 2009
This bus, cyborgs. All cyborgs on this bus...Scott is right. This is like the Global Brain discussion. When will there be a Global Brain that ties all people together? Threat or menace?

There has been a global brain since the Spanish Empire.

There have been cyborgs since the telegraph, eyeglasses, false teeth. Wooden legs even.

It just takes literary types a while to see the obvious.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 12, 2009
:But I think you will see some version of the African Clicking language employed..."

lol... I just started rereading "When Body Language Goes Bad" this morning and the introduction mentions your knees doing the African Clicking language. What a crossover! And, with all the technological advancements we might as well say we are part cyborg, although I will never get a chip inside of me.
 
 
Dec 11, 2009
I wear reading glasses and dentures. Do these enhancements make me a cyborg or just old?
On the spot facial recognition would be a social plus, I think. Then I would know those people's names who I do not care about and that I do not bother to remember now.
 
 
Dec 11, 2009
Scott,

You always refer to your readers as "intelligent". But a large number of posters always come back with "it won't work". Clearly this is a close-minded attitude. Isn't close-mindedness a trait of the subhumans?

Or maybe only your dumb readers post - yours truly excluded? Or are you just being generous in your assessment of your readers.
 
 
Dec 11, 2009
I want one.

I've been thinking about the internet and the likelihood of it becoming the joining point of the the collective. Pre-Search Engine, where did you learn anything? From your mom or dad or teacher or friend/co-worker or that pimpily face punk by the swings.

Nowadays, I want to know what something is or how to make a pot roast, google it. It's such a powerful tool. I can totally see one day where we have a built in chip that allows us to upload and download information to our brains (or at least a tiny screen embedded in my eye - or glasses). Whatever, I'm not an engineer. But I can totally see it.

Awesome blog.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 11, 2009
There are a few comments here describing facial recognition as an unachieved fantasy (and one pointing out that Google has it but hasn't unleashed it).

To you, I recommend downloading Picasa (Google's image organizing/sorting/editing/ordering software). The facial recognition built in to their v3.5 release isn't perfect, but it's scary good and a lot of fun. Not to mention that it's easily fast enough to be incorporated into those new-fangled camera phones.
 
 
Dec 11, 2009
While most of the technology -- processors, memory, wireless, cameras, bluetooth, cellphone, etc -- already exist, we're notoriously bad about combining those things into anything vaguely smart. I like my iPhone, and I think it does a better job at integrating things than most, but it's still so far away from any meaningful decision making and context as to be irrelevent.

Your exobrain reminds me of a quote made by an artificial intelligence in The Matrix. "This was the height of your civilization. I say that it was the height of YOUR civilization, because once we started thinking for you, it really became OUR civilization." (I'm sure that's not perfectly accurate).
 
 
Dec 10, 2009
I believe Scott is talking about the Pranav Mistry sixth sense presentation at TED - http://www.ted.com/talks/pranav_mistry_the_thrilling_potential_of_sixthsense_technology.html

 
 
Dec 10, 2009
Nice post Scott, but by your definition man became a cyborg the day he made a stone axe.
 
 
Dec 10, 2009
I live a couple hundred feet from a time zone boundary, and in a rather rural area. It randomly switches towers back and forth between states/time zones. So my cellphone can't figure out what time it "really" is. Using a cell phone as an alarm clock here doesn't work too well. You might get awakened an hour early, an hour late, or (when the phone thinks it is an hour earlier than it is, and then switches back to the correct time right after your wake-up time) not at all.
 
 
Dec 10, 2009
This post is spot on with the daily dilbert calender. Dogbert is explaining to a new guy that "machines have taken over and your job is to provide them with electricity...and do you think those electron voting machines care about your opinion"
 
 
+9 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 10, 2009
Exobrain: "That's Jane. She's your wife. Judging by her rising blood pressure you have done something wrong. After analyzing your activities over the past week and noting the size of the bulge in the vein near her left temple, I believe it was not telling her that your mother was coming to town this weekend."
 
 
Dec 10, 2009
I see implications in the area of "liar detection". "Poker night with the guys" will become obsolete. Used car salesmen will need to be replaced by robots. Tiger Woods will never get away with another transgression.

I suppose then robots will also win elections against human politicians because humans would give away too many facial "tells" and would not be believable. Eventually robots, holding a majority in Congress and with claims of "fascism", will replace robots in industry with humans, bringing full employment back again and a new prosperity.

Lastly, cruise ships will have to be retrofitted to allow large, vacationing welding robots to lie in the sun, occasionally spinning their giant steel arms back to the wet bar. It will be a brand new world.
 
 
 
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