Anti-Cyborg Discrimination Is A Terrifyingly Real Thing

“A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” —Isaac Asimov’s First Law of Robotics

In A Nutshell

A future where humans are prejudiced against robots or cyborgs is practically a sci-fi cliche: Blade Runner, the Matrix films, and I, Robot all flirted with this way-out futuristic theme to some extent. But what they didn’t mention is that anti-cyborg prejudice is already a terrifyingly real thing. Last year, a Parisian McDonald’s witnessed what may be history’s first anti-cyborg hate crime.

The Whole Bushel

Steve Mann is known as the “father of wearable computing.” According to his blog, he’s been wearing a computer vision system of some kind or another for over 34 years. The current device he sports is literally attached to his skull and thus impossible to remove. In case anyone gets freaked out by this and refuses to let him into a museum (or whatever) he carries a physician’s note at all times. Remember this.

Last year, he stepped into a Parisian McDonald’s, where employees took exception to his digital glass eye. Since this was a family vacation, Mann didn’t kick up a fuss. Instead, he politely handed the employees his physician’s note and tried to get on with his meal. And that’s when things got real.

One of the employees tore up his note while another attempted to wrench the Glass from Mann’s head. Since the device is part of him, there’s pretty much no way this could have ended happily. The McDonald’s goon damaged the Glass, damaged Mann, and then threw him out into the street. As Mann tells it, the police were deeply unsympathetic when he filed a complaint, because the minute you wire a computer to yourself you lose all your rights, apparently.

Frighteningly, this isn’t the only incident of anti-cyborg discrimination on the web. Stories abound of visually impaired people equipped with digital devices getting chucked out of supermarkets and banned from movie theaters. There are even advocacy groups with names like “Stop the Cyborgs” springing up to try and push through anti-cyborg legislation. Think cybernetic prejudice only exists as a metaphor in the movies? Think again.

Show Me The Proof

io9: What may be the world’s first cybernetic hate crime unfolds in French McDonald’s
Cyborg Discrimination: The Dark Side of Google Glass

  • WhiteExodus

    Looks like well be having some sort of war between cyborgs and humans in 50 years time……

    • Exiled Phoenix

      I for one am very excited for this future where no one anywhere is safe from the beauty of a landscape burning with the ravages of war!!
      Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!

      • WhiteExodus

        Well I for one well be buying a shotgun, you know so I can shoot cyborgs at my front porch (jk)

    • constantinqqc983

      My Uncle Noah just got blue Audi Q3 SUV by working parttime from a laptop. additional resources


      • Yossarian921

        Who the fuck pays people in cars?

    • Ray

      The guy also complained because he pissed himself and got the stuff in his pockets wet. The funny part is that part of McDonalds response was that he wasn’t prevented from using the toilet.

  • Hadeskabir

    I had to read this whole thing on wikipedia for better information.

    • cyberpal

      I never thought one can be that slow!

      • Hadeskabir

        This article is incomplete, you have more information on wikipedia on this subject.

        • cyberpal

          Got your point

  • The Ou7law

    I, Robot was not a movie it was a warning :/. When it comes time to get shit done everyone needs to rock out with their glock out

    • Sel Melvin

      Against droids that are bulletproof.

  • dm21865

    What a gigantic, fear-mongering proclamation supported by such a small anecdotal example.

    • Ray

      Did you expect more?

  • inconspicuous detective

    this is ridiculous and stupid. hate crime against cyborgs. stop trying to pretend the world is fair and everything is equal, for one, because it isn’t. second of all, you’re ignoring the fact that most of these things will be created (initially) for human safety and convenience, not as actual people. they won’t be, can’t be, and aren’t gonna be envisioned or made human. period. please stop this nonsensical PC bullcrap.

    • DJ Farkus

      You seem to be describing “robots”, not cyborgs. Cyborgs are defined as “mechanically- or technically-enhanced people”. People with extra gear wired into their bodies, not bots that look like people.

      • inconspicuous detective

        would it matter? if it ain’t really human…

        • Ollie

          What are you talking about? Are you literally a complete idiot? Do you know what a cyborg is? A cyborg is a human with electronic equipment inserted or connected to their bodies. It’s like saying a person with a hearing aid is not human and can be attacked freely. The amount of shit that spewed from your keyboard in your first comment is ridiculous,

          • inconspicuous detective

            “can be attacked freely” yea dumbass. that’s not taking what i said and applying a slippery slope to it at all. if i’m calling it by the wrong name that’s one thing, to assume i mean literally a human with cyborg implants of some kind is another. you should thank your english teachers for all the critical thinking/reading skills you never developed. moron.

  • Ray

    There’s not even any proof this actually happened lol. Poor McDonalds and their mccrap food.

  • Ray

    The title of this article should be “Steve Mann acts like pussy and pisses himself in a fast food restaurant”.