Proof-reading required, Jeezus....
A second transhumanist RFID-chipping nut has emerged from the academic community at the University of Reading. Professor Kevin Warwick became famous years ago after claiming he was on the way towards becoming a cyborg after he implanted a simple RFID chip in his arm, which allowed sensors to register his presence and perform …
Having first become aware of Warwick through the generally dismissive coverage provided (in an occasionally obsessive manner) by El Reg, I was pleasantly surprised by what I read of the second stage of Project Cyborg. The claims about the first stage were clearly media-oriented guff, but once it got to the stage of actually trying to do something interesting with neural interfaces the whole thing moved into the realm of potentially-useful science.
Now it sounds like we're back in the "press release for gullible non-technical types" zone again. Shame, that.
Who described the shenanigans at the University of Reading as an "embarrassing distraction". And yet I can't recall his name, but everyone knows about Captain Cyborg and (now) his Legion of Low Wattage Minions.
Sad, but it's the first to market that gets the fame and floozies. There are floozies, right?
Can you imagine the conversation?
- Prof W - "so, erm, like, you remember how we went out and had a drink, and then, you know..." shuffles feet in the dirt and avoids eye contact, "... well things happened, yeah?"
- Dell Inspiron Laptop - "We said we wouldn't talk about that, Kevin - it was a mistake and it'll never happen again"
- Prof W - "Oh yeah, I know, it's just, erm, well...."
- Dell Inspiron Laptop - "Is there something I should know?"
- Prof W - "Look, it burned when I cleared my cache, and so I went and got checked and..."
- Dell Inspiron Laptop - "Oh My Turing, are you trying to tell me...?"
- Prof W - "Just get yourself checked, ok? I had this virus... I'm really sorry...."
- Dell Inspiron Laptop - "First you give me Norton and now this?! You said you'd always upgrade me! You promised me Windows 7! Continue, Retry, Abort? ABORT!!!"
Only in Reading....
...in order to catch a computer virus I just have to slice my head open with a scalpel, insert a circuit, and then get sewn up, but I will still be immune to the virus because my brain doesn't run windows.
Oh, FFS, Kevin Warwick has passed the mantle - I wondered why we hadn't heard from that dipstick for a long time - he's probably crashed
All these academic nutjobs are doing is making themselves victim of our own technology. Much akin to what governments and corporations are doing, really. That's, in fact, exactly my complaint with all of the RFID applications, and a number of other ventures to boot. Biometrics come to mind.
What I'd like the transhumanism movement to do is twofold. First, find ways to counter this sort of abuse of technology. Second, find actual, useful ways to merge human and technology, investigate what needs to be done to make that sustainable over the long term and in the face of adversity (starting with power failures), and then help us all do it, should there still be a reason to once we found out the price.
We invented our box of technological tricks to empower us, not to use it to suppress ourselves. Yet it is us that's making a box of pandora out of it. How truly wonderful these contributions to academia.
You don't even have to slice your hand open with a scalpel. Just copy the malware onto a micro SD card and eat it. Same net effect with a lot less slicing.
Probably a lot less media coverage, too. If this joker had said "I just put a virus on this RFID tag and ate it," I wonder if he'd be getting any column inches.
...that's more like it.
Stories about cyber-numpty Warwick reminds me of the El Reg of yore, when certain senior staffers weren't obsessed about Google/BBC bashing and mundane Apple rumours/press releases (it's difficult to tell which are which nowadays) were an irrelevance, not the basis for half the articles on the site.
"...Professor Kevin Warwick became famous years ago after claiming he was on the way towards becoming a cyborg after he implanted a simple RFID chip in his arm, which allowed sensors to register his presence and perform simple actions such as opening a door. ..."
The RFID chip was a proof of concept, you always forget to mention the next bit where he had a neural sensor implanted which allowed him to wirelessly control a robotic hand via just moving one of his hands.
I wonder if this is a proof of concept for another larger experiment?
This all just roll-your-eyes bullshit from the familiar bullshit factory at Reading. It will take a nasty turn if the Daily Mail print it and some poor guy refuses to have a pacemaker for fear of getting a computer virus, then dies of heart failure.
Scaremongering tabloids reporting shite science can cost lives.
Given the wailing and gnashing of teeth in the press about the "Hundreds of thousands who can't find places on degree courses." (Forcing them to stand in dole queues without degrees in fine art appreciation to keep them warm at night.) It's nicely clear that the entire university of reading could be nuked to hell and back, without setting human progress back a single heart beat.
Thirteen years after Blair's "Education Education Education" bullshit, this is what we've been left with in British Academia. Half a nation that thinks this was worth doing, and another half nation who thinks that this is all that engineering research is good for.
Oh do grow up a bit, one report from one person in one department at one university does not mean that the university is totally worthless. Off the top of my head, Reading is the place to go for:
Don't confuse random publicity bumf churned out by the press with the real research that goes on, especially within the Cybernetics department.
Mature Discussion? On The Reg? No!
This "Human Infected with PC Virus" episode is empty publicity seeking, with absolutely no academic worth. It's proved nothing, but stoked more than a few drunken pub conversations by beer-educated "experts".
If Reading is happy to have this crap pushed out as being representative of their work, then they deserve all the scathing that man can level against them.
Maybe some enterprising student can regain a little dignity for their institution by adding an anti-virus scanner to the RFID door security to keep the malware out of the building - or maybe lock them in quarantine somewhere out of the way.
I'm pretty sure the first guys getting pacemakers, cochlea implants and various other medical hitech have a better claim to being the first cyborgs.
Yeah, but your uni couldn't even get you the training to be able to click on the 'reply to this post' button.
Also, I realise you are trolling, but for the record:
Meteorology= physics, maths, stats, chemistry, with a side order of engineering and electronics
Food Science= production line technology, chemistry, biology, etc. etc.
Cybernetics= Electrionics, computing, interfacing, feedback, programming, AI, engineering, robotics, maths, man-machine interfacing
So yes, I would shout about it and publicise it everywhere I could.
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