Professor of Cybernetics at Reading University. Author of In the Mind of the Machine (originally titled March of the Machines), and QI. A leading figure in Artifical Intelligence, he has been compared to Stephen Hawking for his ability to make high-level Science accessible to the masses.

Professor Warwick is best known for controversially having a chip embedded in his arm to allow him to interface with a computer. He currently plans to take this experiment a step further by implanting a similar chip in his wife's arm, and interfacing the two. This ground-breaking research will help determine whether it is possible for neural impulses to be transmitted between one central nervous system and another.

Born in Coventry in 1954, Kevin was schooled in Rugby before working for British Telecom for six years. He took his first degree at Aston University aged twenty-two, which was followed by a PhD and a research post at the Imperial College, London. After holding positions at Oxford, Newcastle and Warwick, he took up the Professorship at Reading in 1988.

I first met Professor Warwick at a signing of his new book QI. We chatted for a while... mutual acquaintances, all that sort of thing. (We do actually have some mutual acquaintances: we work in the same discipline, albeit he's at the top and I'm at the bottom.) A bloody nice chap he was, too.

Kevin Warwick, a.k.a. Captain Cyborg, is viewed with bemused contempt by many academics and technology enthusiasts in the UK. He is the man the media turns to whenever they need a sensationalist soundbite about robots taking over the world. A manic self-publicist with an unfortunately Gumby-esque public speaking style, Warwick has very little new to add to our understanding of cybernetics, robotics and artificial intelligence. But he has some great robot turtles (circa 1983) in his lab.

Highlights of his career include being stopped at customs for having a robot shaped like a cat (a sophisticated robot indeed - being a couple of servos attached to cat-shaped sheet of metal), writing doom-mongering books, and implanting a radio-transmitting chip under his skin that 'automatically' controls lights and doors in his lab (which invariably provokes interviewers to ask "so what?"). There are many more of his knuckleheaded schemes at the site blowdart mentions above, and The Register (www.theregister.co.uk) generally reports on his exploits (and debunks them).

N.B. : I've categorised this writeup as 'person', because we don't have a 'cyborg' category yet. Sorry Kevin, I'm sure you'll understand.

I studied in the Cybernetics department of Reading University and I can tell you that Dr. Warwick is a really nice guy.

He's a little sex obsessed; innuendo is his favourite form of lecture theatre humour and listening to him talk off the record you'd think that the entire purpose of the second implant (the one that can read his nerve signals) was to explore the sexual issues.

He is a fervent believer in machine conciousness and would even go so far as to say that the department's crappy little reactive robots, the so called seven dwarves, are concious to some degree. This has lead to his beliefs being re-categorised as panpsychism. That is to say he sees conciousness in a glass of water.

The first implant, just for your infomation, could not be used for the things it was famous for. There was no way to track Kevin around the department let alone the campus using a tiny implant with a range of 20 cm. All those T.V. appearences where he is 'greeted' by the building were triggered by a card in his pocket; the same type of card that is carried by all cybernetics professors.

He is also famous for taking all the media attention for the department, regardless of who actually deserved the attention. This is not necessarily a bad thing for the shy, retiring academics but it does make Kevin a media whore.

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