World's first cyborg: man-machine or pipedream?

Is Terminator technology tugging our arm or our leg


Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at Reading University, will breach the human/computer divide by implanting a 2.5cm microchip into the top of his arm. Signals from a computer will cause the chip -- which is connected to the nerves in his arm -- to send out various electrical impulses and thereby control how his arm moves. Or will it?

While we love a good story at The Register, we can't help but wonder. After all this is the same man who claimed to control lighting, heating and computers through an earlier implant and who was barred from taking a robot cat to Russia.

So we contacted Prof Warwick. Or rather, tried to contact him. Four phone calls, two emails and four days later and still nothing. Perhaps he was too busy with the nationals -- in the last week, our Kevin has appeared in the Daily Mail, Guardian and The Times.

He has also cropped up on Tomorrow's World and CNN, and been famously referred to as 'Britain's leading prophet of the robot age' by none other than Agent Scully from the X-files (well, the actress that plays her). Perhaps we're just not important enough.

He also has a list of academic papers as long as your arm -- with or without implants. So do we really have the audacity to question a leading academic? No, of course not -- but we simply can't bring ourselves to believe that what he says is possible. It's one thing to make predictions of what the future holds but quite another to set up heavily publicised experiments.

Professor Warwick's academic pedigree is impeccable and while his expertise in the area is beyond reproach, we have been unable to find academic papers that back up the more futuristic experiments he has embarked upon.

We will continue to press for solid evidence and hopefully Prof Warwick will get in touch and prove such scepticism wrong. Then we can all sit back and look forward to the inevitable decline of the human race. ®


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