Cyborg 7-year-olds

You would think people might have learned from BF Skinner not to experiment on their own children, but a Dad at UCLA is busily hooking up sensors to everything and everybody in a first grade classroom–a project that was inspired by his daughter. The sensors will track where the students go, what they look at, and will record everything they say.

You might wonder about the ethical considerations of such a project. Maybe only I do. In any event, I have started looking at the intersection of privacy preferences and content rights at the intersection of real physical and media spaces. Leaving aside questions of whether the seven-year-olds or their parents are aware of the potential hazards of such research, there are serious questions of incidental collection (are the people who the students talk to recorded) and combinatorial privacy (will data mining reveal connections that invade private realms that surface recording of events may not), among others.

All of this gives me yet another reason to have some kids: research subjects!

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  1. Posted 8/4/2003 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    For the purposes of the following, one’s own children have no rights:

    1.) bedtime: when mommy says today is over, today is over.
    2.) electronic toys: these are a privilege, not a right.
    3.) showering: (may apply only to parents of boys) it doesn’t matter if you just showered yesterday, mommy gets to tell you when to wash.
    4.) the TV remote: enough said.
    5.) the last cookie: (may apply only to children who live with me) never, ever, eat the last cookie.

    So, I’m thinking, social science experimentation is a logical add-on here.

  2. Posted 8/4/2003 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    What? No right to shower? That’s terrible. You’ve got to fight for your right to shower. When I’m a parent, I’m going to let my kid bathe as often as he or she wants to (maybe).

  3. jeremy hunsinger
    Posted 8/5/2003 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    well as i recall, the right is more a negative right, some kids don’t want to bathe, they have the positive right to bathe, but not the negative right not to bathe.

  4. Posted 8/5/2003 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Bingo! Obviously the father of boy(s) or the son of mom(s).

  5. Posted 8/9/2003 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    I was talking to Steve Mann a day or so after his child was born. He said that the baby was already cybored before he even got started. The child had an alter bracelet attached by the hospital which would set off an alarm if the baby was taken from the building.

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