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Captain Cyborg accepts another degree from puny humans

10 INPUT honorary_award$ 20 GOTO 10

The nation's favourite would-be cyborg overlord and media strumpet, Professor Kevin Warwick, has been rewarded with another academic bauble.

The post-human Brummie was given a Doctorate from the University of Portsmouth last week for his work as Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading.

It adds to a growing collection. Warwick has already picked up honorary PhDs from Aston University, Coventry University and Bradford University.

Portsmouth credits Warwick with inventing "an intelligent deep brain stimulator to counteract the effects of Parkinson’s disease tremors". This is bit of a generous interpretation of his work, as evidenced by this academic paper. The project involves using a neural network to predict Parkinson's tremors. But the actual invention, the "intelligent stimulator" has to our knowledge - has yet to be invented.

But then as Warwick likes to say: "There can be no absolute reality, there can be no absolute truth" - an invaluable approach for any post-modern scientist. Or Wikipedian.

Last year we noted how Wikipedia's entry for Britain's Greatest Living Scientist had been miraculously cleansed of any controversy or criticism of Warwick's work or public statements. The following passage, the last remnant of any disquiet amongst Warwick's scientific peers, was subsequently removed:

Warwick's tendency to court the media has led some of his critics to accuse him of concentrating on publicity at the cost of research, grossly exaggerating the importance and implications of his "experiments". For example, the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour complained to the organisers of the 2000 Christmas Lectures about their choice of Kevin Warwick, prior to his appearance. They claimed that "he is not a spokesman for our subject and allowing him influence through the Christmas lectures is a danger to the public perception of science.

It has not been reinstated.

On his home page Warwick states that, "The Institute of Physics selected Kevin as one of only 7 eminent scientists to illustrate the ethical impact their scientific work can have: the others being Galileo, Einstein, Curie, Nobel, Oppenheimer and Rotblat" - a link to this schools project.

At this rate, Professor Warwick will soon be gracing the back of a 10 pound note. Move over Darwin - the cyborgs are coming. ®

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