Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/05/12/captain_cyborg_conference/

Captain Cyborg terrorises UK conference

Gives speech on, er, speechless communication

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 12th May 2004 14:07 GMT

We recently said that we would be giving Kev "Captain Cyborg" Warwick no further coverage on this august organ. Sadly, we lied.

The reason for this shameless U-turn is the news that the robotic prof has been giving forth at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's 2004 training conference.

Naturally, you'd like to know what enlightenment Reading University's Professor of Cybernetics had for the doubtless boggle-eyed participants in this human resources love-in. Well, for starters, "coffee and meditation are the best ways of improving short-term mental performance" whereas said performance is hindered by "orange juice and last-minute revision". Fascinating.

But this doesn't sound like the Warwick we all know and love, does it? Surely Captain Cyborg has not decided to drop the kind of cyberpunditry which has made the man a living - if part mechanical - legend among scientific academics. Fear not. Our Kev soon warms to the task in hand:

Warwick also opined about the ways we are likely to undertake learning and training in the future. Warwick believes that learning will become an automated software exercise; where people download appropriate software to learn skills such as learning languages. His comments follow his participation in a recent experiment which aimed to find out what happens when electrodes are fired into the main nerve fibres of the body. Warwick found that he was able to make coffee and use an alarm system with his neural signals alone - a result which he argues demonstrates the potential for a direct link between the brain and the internet to learn.

Further, Warwick believes that the experiments have more far-reaching ramifications for the way in which we communicate. He comments, "My wife and I became the first humans to communicate directly through the nervous system which was an amazing experience. When my wife moved her fingers three times for example, I felt three corresponding neural pulses in my own nervous system. This wasn't quite thought communication, but if developments in implant technology continue at their present rate, we will not bother talking but send messages directly to each other. Thought communication could, and I believe will, make speech redundant."

Astounding. We here at El Reg have already developed a speechless form of communication which, by an amazing co-incidence, also involves the movement of fingers - it's called forming your hand into a fist and punching someone. If only we could find a suitable recipient for a bit of "jaw-breaking research".... Any suggestions?

Bootnote

Only kidding. There is no way responsible journalists such as ourselves would condone the slapping of respected futurists, or anyone else for that matter. Besides, Captain Cyborg has the strength of 10 men, is able to leap tall buildings at a single bound and can communicate telepathically with his lizard army allies who would certainly wreak terrible vengeance by reducing Vulture Central to rubble using their ray-gun equipped black helicopters. Accordingly, we are off to download a range of martial arts skills directly into our brains - just in case. ®

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