Captain Cyborg Has A Virus-Infected Sidekick… But Nothing Can Stop A PR Campaign
from the virus-infected? dept
About a decade ago, if you followed the technology space, you might recall a series of articles about a professor at the University of Reading, named Kevin Warwick, who made himself famous by implanting a computer chip in his arm, declaring himself an expert in “cybernetics” and figuring out ways to get way too much press for nothing special. The Register, amusingly, dubbed him “Captain Cyborg” and regularly mocked his various exploits. We haven’t heard much about Warwick in a while, but when I saw a bunch of folks chatting about a BBC article concerning the “first human infected with computer virus,” I was immediately reminded of Warwick. Reading through the article, it was no surprise to find out that this “experiment” is actually being conducted by a colleague of Warwick’s, Mark Gasson — who according to Warwick’s own bio lead the research group that Warwick works in.
The story is — as with all captain cyborg stories — a lot less than the headline suggests. Gasson wasn’t “infected with a computer virus.” He took a chip that had a computer virus and stuck it in his arm, just like Warwick has done n the past. The parallels to an actual virus are minimal, and the usefulness for anything is even less than that. Gasson presents this as useful for considering the implications for implanted technology such as pacemakers, but that’s nothing new. People have talked about potential technology issues from the wireless interface to pacemakers for years. Doing some sort of publicity stunt with an implanted computer chip doesn’t further that discussion along.