Incorrigible self-publicist Kevin Warwick has struck again, easing himself into a spot on CNN's website devoted to "visionaries". It renews a long-standing love affair between the cable channel and the Brummie lecturer.
Warwick is to cybernetic research what Hello Kitty is to animal husbandry, but thanks to a gullible media he has been able to carve out an additional career as a futurist. Several years ago Warwick had a passive radio tag implanted in his body allowing him to walk through radio-tag compatible doors, and this, he claimed, had transformed him into a cyborg. A subsequent, painful implant was connected to his nervous system.
Despite ample warnings, few interviewers have pointed out that Warwick's insatiable desire for attention, his irrational fantasies, and his propensity for self-mutiliation make him more representative of a spotty teenager than a mechanically-enhanced superhuman.
"It's difficult to describe how frustrating it is in the field seeing this man being our spokesman," Richard Reeve, at Edinburgh University's informatics division told The Guardian last year.
But Warwick sees a bright future ahead.
Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis "will also be much reduced" thanks to "bio-interfacing", he predicts. Senile dementia and schizophrenia could "perhaps" be tackled by wiring chips up to the nervous system.
"Multi-dimensional thought," predicts the Captain rather tentatively, "will be at the planning stage," he adds. But for now Warwick himself seems incapable of the two-dimensional variety of thought from which B follows A in a loosely logical sequence.
As for CNN's other "visionaries", Warwick is in depressingly familiar company. Toyah-lookalike Susan Greenfield warns that we're at risk from losing our human identity - which is a bit rich coming from a talking android. And keeping the spirit of Criswell alive is Aubrey de Grey, promoter of "Negligible Senescence", who predicts that in the future we could live for hundreds of years. Or in Aubrey's case - go for hundreds of years between beard trimmings, which is almost as good.
Thank goodness such gibberish hasn't affected some of the internet's most important decision makers. Or has it?
For more in this vein, read about our own visit to the future here.
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