Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/05/14/letters_1405_warwick/

Captain Cyborg: 'I know Kung Fu!'

Plus Linspire and geek sexual equality

By Lucy Sherriff

Posted in Bootnotes, 14th May 2004 12:05 GMT

Letters Ah, Kevin Warwick. The man of many electrodes and implanted silicon (not silicone, but more on that later) resurfaced at a conference in London. He spoke eloquently, and at some length, about speechless communication. We don't understand why people don't take him more seriously...

I love your coverage on this guy. I seriously think he's given himself minor brain damage with all the poking and prodding he's done into his nervous system.

All I could think about when you mentioned his comments on learning being a software download, was Keanu Reeves saying, "I know Kung Fu!"

And, on the subject of The Matrix, I'm honestly surprised Captain Cyborg hasn't tried designing his own VR universe yet... of course, maybe that's what he's gearing up for.

Oh, and you did forget to mention another form of speechless communication.. It involves extending the fist and raising either one finger (for US residents), or two in a V-shape (Which, if I'm not mistaken is the UK equivalent to the USA's one-finger salute... )

Thanks for a good laugh,


I must admit I feel jealous of the lads across the pond and their possession of a cyber-pundit. One would think that such grandiose experiments and fabulous predictions of near future technology would come from someone here in the States. Wearing a nice white suit. With wrap-around arms. In a padded room. You fellows get all the fun.

"Thought communication could, and I believe will, make speech redundant." Great, just another avenue for spammers and scammers. Oh, and just think, with Bluetooth, your kids could ask the fridge what's inside rather than standing with the door wide open for hours! And MP3's!!!!! No more of that annoying karaoke and tuneless humming, you could yodel "Legend of a Mind" in perfect harmony!

But wait, there's more! BSODs, reboots, DOSs, DDOSs, hackers and crackers and Bill Gates, OH MY!

The good Cap'n should be writing Sunday morning cartoons, instead of giving away his material for free.

Glenn K

Colorado, USA

Hi Lester,

It may also have occured to you that theregister makes use of another form of speechless communication that also involves the movement of fingers. It's called typing. Presumably the method by which you produced your article???


Amazingly not: we've recently developed our own direct brain to computer link. It works by staring at the monitor until words appear. Mostly we can do it without fainting now, and if Prof. Warwick would like to study our methods, we're be happy to share our research.

We also reported on the continuing legal wrangling between Microsoft and Linspire, the artist formerly known as...

Now, as you know, we at El Reg hate controversy and just want everyone to get along. In that spirit, we included the following suggestion in the article: Perhaps there is another solution: one Reg reader reckons the Linux company should give up on Windows and call its software "Gates".

Doesn't this bear an auditive resemblance to "Gits"?


Hmm, Roop, this could be a problem. However, an interesting alternative follows:

"one Reg reader reckons the Linux company should give up on Windows and call its software "Gates"

Or even LitiGates.


Many of you were moved to comment on the apparent lack of parity in geek remuneration, suggesting that perhaps working hours are not the only reason for an inbalance in either the number of men and women in IT. Neither, you said, is sex the only explanation for the difference in pay:


I'm not usually moved to respond to any article but this evening I must say I am. I did think your article was either deliberately provactive or just unjustly opinionated. Either way, I have to confess I only read the first paragraph before reaching that conclusion.

As someone of the first real genertion of people who grew up with 8-bit and 16-bit hoime computers, PC's, the nascent internet at university (unheard of to the general populous in 1995) and a booming jobs market at times (java, .net et al) I feel very lucky. But I also feel well placed to comment on my colleagues over this time (7 years).

In my time as a technical manager in various jobs for both mobile companies and banks, often I have worked with female peers who are technically spot-on, whose judgement is absolutely right and who are (in short) the kind of colleagues you rave about if you are asked to give a reference. But if I'm honest, more often the kind of female colleague I meet is quiet and (sometimes very) intelligent but not at all assertive. Someone who would prefer to be quietly competent, but remain in the background. Someone whose very qualities lend themselves to being ranked lower in the organisation than someone more assertive amd more responsible. The male contingent is far more broad - some are uncouth, some are quiet and shy. There is a mix.

Surely a reason then, for the "gross over-representation" of males in IT is not a recruitment bias, could be more a reflection that the sets of candidates are very different. That perhaps it means nothing to compare the meales and females in IT on a statistical (or any oher numerical) basis unless you have first compared them on a more rigorous, more deterministicl, more standardizws basis to determine that a comparison iis valid in the first place.

Cheers Ez


In your article the oft repeated complaint about pay differential appears again; "This imbalance shows up very clearly in the difference in average pay packets. Male IT project management staff cost an average of £71.90 per hour, while women cost £37.31...much of the differential is to do with the different kind of work being done, but women are also paid less when like-for-like jobs are compared, Parity says."

What galls me about this is it's often presented as a problem that needs some kind of resolution, what never seems to be acknowledged in these kinds of articles is the simple influence on that differential by the individual man or woman themselves...

Interviewer: "Great well it seems we've got along really well, would you be interested in an offer? and what kind of package would you be looking for?" Candidate 1: "I was offered a company car last week, with a 200K upfront golden hello straight into a pension , 90K a year 150% bonus pot, 20% pension contribution and private health, including dental care. You need to match that and improve by 20% or I'm not even going to get out of bed for you, and that's on a 3 year rolling contract with 12 months notice.". Candidate 2: "what kind of package are you offering?".

If surveyed how many women would be Candidate 2 (and how many men)? Folk seem to forget that they are as much of a commodity resource to a company as the PC under the desk. If it breaks (or leaves) it gets replaced and two weeks on no-one remembers what broke or who left. Basic principles for running a company say you should minimise margins on your costs, and maximise margins on your income, staff are a cost, and project managers are defineitely a commodity, so don't pay them any more than you have to, it's only government and public sector where pay scales and equality are actually mandated through politically correct legislation. If you want a pay rise, ask for one, or quit and go and get one somewhere else if you think you're worth it. Harsh? maybe. Capitalist? certainly, even Thatcherite, but so what? The company you work for is *not* there to be nice to you or do you any favours, it exists solely to make money for it's shareholders and owners whatever altruistic eco/environmentally socially conscience spin anybody wants to play on it.

And while I'm at it, after dodgy quotes from dodgy surveys, we also get re-writes of old-monty python sketches, what *is* going on there? "No Monty Python Jokes" used to be the mantra of internet humour, they'd been done to death and then some. Even down to the absurdly patronising "don't get it?". Your audience are the very geeks you mention in the survey, do you really think they haven't heard of Monty Python?

Livid of London c/o Daily Mail

From social commentary to endangered species in a single bound. Impressive. And now for our own completely seamless

link. What do silicone implants, a spade (as in the card suit, not the digging tool), and a large pair of buttocks all have in common? Capgemini and its new logo, that's what.

Hey ... when did capgemini get into the casino racket.

Looks to me like the strategy boutique types got stuck in monte carlo for a week, used a napkin and a $1000 chip to design that piece.

Rather NOT be dealing with a gambling outfit thanks.

Alistair Tonner

Much enjoyed your piece on CapGemini, especially the "..one-in-four chance of the result being total cobblers." I hope it makes Private Eye's 'Pseuds Corporate' section.

Maybe it's just me, but the new logo reminds me of nothing so much as a cartoonist's version of silicone implants. I must get out more...

Best regards

-- James Pickett


Given the main symbol in Capgemini's new logo.. 's funny how no-one wants to call a spade a spade.. ;o)


Ian Baker

Thanks, Lester, for your article on CapGemini's new incarnation on these three Earthly dimensions. My karma is infinitely regenerated by the good news.

Just one question - why did you accompany the story with all those pictures of a fat person with a trumpet stuck up his/her a*se?

R M Crorie

And on that note, (fnarr fnarr), we'll bid you all adieu. ®