The "Eyeborg": A Story on Embracing The Singularity

Khryss | Published 2017-06-17 22:58
Meet Rob Spence- a 44-year-old filmmaker with The Terminator-like glowing cyborg eye! His journey began when his 9-year-old self left home in Coburg, Ontario to visit his grandfather in Ireland. One day, he was fooling around with a shotgun and tried to shoot a pile of cow dung. (Don't do this, kids.) "I had my head against the gun, like I saw cowboys doing it in movies, or like Ralphie in A Christmas Story," recalled Spence, "and I literally shot my eye out. The gun bucked hard against me, against my face, and while I didn't lose my eye at that point, it was traumatized and I was declared legally blind, despite having some vision in the right eye." This has consequently damaged his depth perception and peripheral vision, pushing him to adapt to the whole new world of clumsiness it created. In 2007, his eye started to swell with his cornea deteriorating. "I was told I had to get my eye replaced, and that's when I began research eye cameras," Spence said. "Why not get something different than a glass eye?" And as you can see, his idea worked. His new eye has now a camera equipped with a radio frequency micro-transmitter (enabling him to record what he sees) and a magnetized reed switch (enabling him to turn on and off his camera anytime). These are enclosed in a melted-wax mold of his eye socket for a secure fit. But the camera isn't in any way connected to the optic nerve which means he still can't see with his right eye. "It works well enough to screw around at cyborg conferences," Spence told Motherboard, half-laughing. It's like a "circus, where I'm the freak. But I don't feel like a bearded lady or anything. I get to travel the world." Calling himself "Eyeborg", his new prosthetic has also raised concerns on privacy. With this, Spencer defended himself saying that the camera can only shoot for a maximum of 30 minutes and that a red LED light would let others know when he's recording. He's not even wearing it all the time. "There is a competing tension between my right to replace my eye that I lost versus others' rights to privacy," he said. "Am I not allowed to put an eye camera in my own body?" Besides, is livestreaming other people or snapping pictures of them for social media without their permission any different? Again, this new prosthetic wouldn't be used to surveil people or record Spencer's mundane tasks. He said it would be used for special projects. Well, with the world's first official cyborg and this Eyeborg, is it really the start a new technological era of a man and machine merging into one? Guess The Singularity isn't so far then.
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