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You'll Work Harder with Biometrics

category international | sci-tech | news report author Friday October 28, 2005 05:07author by RobbieSauthor email robbiesin at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

Media Lab - "changing your mind-set through the power of the environment".

I'd like to know more about Media Lab (MIT). I thought MLE had shut down on Jan 14th this year through lack of funding.

Luckily, I recorded a lecture given by Gary McDerby (Principal Rsearch Scientist at Media Lab Europe) in April 2004, and what I heard, I found to be disconcerting

– coming to an appliance near you.

MLE ran the 'club house' in the digital hub in the Liberties where young lads from the run-down locality could avail of facilities - on the face of it.

Can MLE reassure us that the 'Club House', sponsored by Intel, was not used in biometric experimentation with the local 'beneficieries' as guinea-pigs in an elaborate laboratory?

One of the primary goals was to create environments that react to a person so that s/he performs better. This was dressed up with references to convelescents in hospital, but the 'club-house' was cutting edge.

When I asked Gary McDarby, (Principal Research Scientist at Media Lab Europe) about the impolications this would have for workers (coerced or unknowing); he conceded that it might be an issue, and then swiftly moved to another question.

On Media Lab Europe's website, it said about funding;

"[MLE] supports its work through corporate, community, academic and public research partnerships".

Given that the Irish government withdrew funding late last year, this only leaves corporate source of revenue. They're not finding it easy, but are intel the only one's interested in opening this pandorra's box?

Who is paying the speakers tomorrow?

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=72507&condense_comments=false#comment125912
author by Interestedpublication date Fri Oct 28, 2005 09:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Intel sponsored the 'club house', which was in fact an elaborate biometric laboratory with the local 'beneficieries' as guinea-pigs. I have audio evidence". - Would you be kind enough to upload the audio as I am very interested in this,

You can upload it here.

Thank you.

author by RobbieSpublication date Sat Oct 29, 2005 12:57author email robbiesin at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Recorded on April 27th, 2004 at Cultivate's Convergence Festival (entitled 'Slow Down: go further; and/or Relax to Win.

all audio in mp3 (32kbps)

1. Philosophical Bacground (12m34s)

A people-centred approach [no more unintended consequences, we should control our destiny].

Using technology to control and dominate our environment – superman and a super-race. Anything goes. We are our own gods. We’re in a valueless society – no good and evil. Hence inequality in a profit-driven society. Same too with science: we do thikngs because we can. We don’t sit down and plan how things hsould be; we don’t ask why. [unintended consequences]. But imagine if we planned. We should plan; prophets.

2. MLE, what it does. (16m30s)

Basic Idea – can you constructively affect the state of the mind using a combination of emersion therapy, virtual reality and biofeedback? Duality and symbiotic relationship between man and machine [conclusion of this part put first for clarity].

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Enya ends nightmares of child soldier in Liberia. Concept of ‘Affective Feedback’. Necessity of working toegether. For enabling tools, not individualistic tools. Controlling craetivity. We need a new Renaissance – that we mix experts from different disciplines to have creative tensions.

Affective feedback – human-computer interface.

Bio-feedback actually works. By looking at representations of blood-flow, a person can learn to control it. ADS children lack Beta-waves for focus, but we could try to fix this.

Emersive Therapy. The poewr of virtual reality or augmented reality is amazing. Abstract environments affecting the state of the mind positively (and negatively). Environmental controllers, feedback loops.

People will wear these devices. Inttegrated into an augmented technical humanity.

3. Projects (i) (4m51s)

ADSD, depression and trauma. Gaming industry is one of the fastest growing industry in the world. Idea of an online game with biometrics (you win if all your team is calm).

Biometrics can be used for identifying people.

White Room syndrome in autism. Inventing a room that monitors and calms a person. The poewr of emersion [the importance of ambience].

The environment around you is shaped by technology, and what we’re gonna do is use technology in exactly the same way.

4. Demonstration of Affective feedback (8m)

The volunterrs participate in experiment – the most relaxed wins the race. [buzzing is from the laptop connection, not my recording gear].

5. Projects (ii) (17m7s)

Mixing Disciplines. A psychologist, a biologist and a game-programmer can design a game. Executive toys industry.

The minds-games group – transferring skills learnt in the virtual world, into the real world.

The lab is sponsored by corporates mainly; I mean public money at the moment but, the idea is that it’ll ultimately be sponsored by corporates.

Brain Child game: the better you get at controlling your biometrics, that becomes a power in the environment. Like Star Wars, but we can get the technology to guide you into a state of deep relaxation. By putting someone into an emersive environment, you improve their ability of learning how to control their biametrics. The autistic subject and the painting ball. Music distortion a way of encouraging you to control your biometrics.

Controlling a VR with your movement [or vise versa]Original motivation was to reward somebody for being still…trying to encourage kids to sit still in a classroom or whatever. Then dancers came along and encouraged soft, gentle movement. Used in the Central Remedial Clinic, and we actually performed this at the Geneva World Summit (2003).

Controlling a virtual world with your breath [or vise versa]. Breath predisposes you to anabolic or catabolic states. Kids in hospital as subjects.

Controlling VR with attention in the brain [or vise versa]. Improving behavioural attention.

Solution Focus Therapy. The cerebral system is a device that sits on the head and monitros brain activity, transmits information to a device so someone else can monitro it. [PET scans]. a multi-modal system for €3-400.

Sensory substitution.

The importance of the business community.

Dealing with the hardest cases first – inclusive agendas rather than individual agendas.

6. The Computer Club House (10m4s)

Getting kids from disadvantaged areas to work with the latest
technology with the help/training of MIT volunteers. Support learning through design Experience. Just experimentation and exploration, two-way feedback between kids and volunteers. Would like to evolve a model that integrates it with university. That the club house is about building confidence.

Integrated Area Plan – objective to bring about sustainable urban regeneration… Club House was Digital Hub’s (MLE’s) connection back to the community. Intel provide the funding, and the community run it. Support from America, Ramallah (Palestine) and other places worldwide (Latin America and Australia). MLE, Trinity, NCAD all provide volunteers to teach.

Crossing the digital divide. No point in just throwing technology at poverty. There has to be a meeting of the waters between the haves and have-nots. No-one brings people from disadvantaged areas to the pcs in their vicinity to show them how to use them.

7. Conclusions (2m23s)

Hardest cases first. Affective feedback machines, interdisciplinary mixes. [sorry about breathing difficulties here].

8. Questions and Answers(22m36s)

some of the questions are difficult to hear because of the acoustics of the hall.

Related Link: http://radio.indymedia.org/news/2005/10/7474.php
author by Interestedpublication date Sat Oct 29, 2005 14:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

for taking the time to put this together and uploading it. Much appreciated!

author by bankerpublication date Mon Oct 31, 2005 00:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If we look at the outlook of young capitalists these days, we can see they have a totally different outlook to young people in the 1980's, before the advent of computers and the cult of the celebrity.

Our young are brainwashed and mesmerised by computers and technology, they have no real experience of community, instead they prefer the virtual, ultra competitive world of violent military computer games,barbie clones and capitalist porn.

In my day, we lived through the hunger strike protests, daily riots and the shankill butchers stalking north belfast.

It is a nightmare having to associate with young 20-30 year old capitalists, you can see they are not interested in anything except the cult of their own dazzling capitalist personalities, social status and material prestige, they haven't a clue about the lives of poor or disabled people and they have no interest in knowing.

To them life is a competition, about survival of the fittest, and they use every opportunity to promote themselves. For them there is no such thing as co operation or socialism, only the promotion of extreme personalism, so there is no such thing as a clash of politics, only a clash of tacky capitalist personalities.

For them there is no such thing as class politics. They are classless, in that they do not acknowledge the existence or rights of any other class to exist except the middle classes and the rich, the only class allowed to prevail/triumph in their world is middle and upper classes.

It is sad to see our working class young, emulating the behaviour and adopting snobby attitudes of capitalist scum.

author by the Garppublication date Wed May 03, 2006 15:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

An important question has been raised Media Lab europe. A previous author mentioned MLE involvement bioinformat's and their potential implications. However the real issue is what did MLE actually do for the cash they recieved.

Alot of the work was pie in the sky stuff, eg their nanotech stuff was beyond silly, and they dump it after 3 months!!!!!!!!

Now whats really at issue here is the pile of money they recieved from the Irish government (around 33 million), which could have been allocated to Irish Institutions. In fact if that money had been invested into the Irish Colleges and universities a considerable amount of research could have been supported around the country.

Finally what happens now to the land that they occupied, (guinesses), is it theirs?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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