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A controversial ex-admiral who now represents much of Blighty's fee-paying schools sector has predicted that schoolchildren of the not-too-distant future might download knowledge directly into their brains. The private schooling honcho seemed to predict some kind of implanted cranial antenna technology, rather than the relatively old-school bonce-socket option.

"It's a very short route from wireless technology to actually getting the electrical connections in your brain to absorb that knowledge," Rear Admiral Chris Parry - now chief executive of the Independent Schools Council - told the Times Educational Supplement.

"I think people will be able to directly access, Matrix-style, all the vocabulary you need for a foreign language."

Admiral Parry, who has a degree in History from a university located in the English marmalade heartland, is no stranger to technological futurism. Last year, in charge of a military thinktank, he warned of the danger to society posed by disgruntled middle-class flashmob rebels, perhaps equipped with brainchip telepathy and electropulse weapons.

Previously, he had suggested that the cradles of Western society might be "reverse colonised" and overrun by waves of migrants. Just as the Roman Empire was overwhelmed by the Goths, hinted Parry, so old Blighty might find itself submerged in a melange of alien cultural values perpetuated by newcomers permanently connected to their home cultures via cheap flights and the internet.

Few would argue with Parry regarding his condemnation of the damage done to Britain by the endless waves of Kiwi and Australian neo-barbarians we have seen in recent decades: but there are those who might see his timeline to Matrix brain download tech as a little optimistic.

"Within 30 years, sitting down and learning something will be a thing of the past," Parry told the TES.

Meanwhile, the combative ex-sailor and Falklands veteran* has courted a good deal of controversy since becoming a private-education honcho. His aspersions on state schools have had the corduroy unions up in arms. ®

Bootnote

*Then-Lieutenant Parry served as observer of HMS Antrim's helicopter in 1982. Most notably, he was involved in the expulsion of Argentine occupying forces from South Georgia, during which a party of SAS men were delivered onto the freezing Fortuna Glacier by helicopter - the idea being to attack from a totally unexpected direction, as the Argentines would never believe that anyone could survive such an approach.

As it turned out, they would almost have been right in this belief, as the SAS were compelled to call for rescue soon after arriving. After two helicopters had crashed attempting to get them out, HMS Antrim's Wessex managed to retrieve both the SAS and the downed aircrew. The pilot, Lt-Cdr Ian Stanley, won the DSO for this and Lt Parry was mentioned in dispatches. The pair were also involved in successful attacks on the Argentine submarine Santa Fe.

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