Kevin Warwick

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Kevin Warwick : biography

9 February 1954 –

Bioethics

Warwick heads the University of Reading team in a number of European Community projects such as FIDIS looking at issues concerned with the future of identity, ETHICBOTS and RoboLaw which consider the ethical aspects of robots and cyborgs.Warwick, K: "Implications and Consequences of Robots with Biological Brains", Ethics and Information Technology, 12, pp. 223–234, 2010 Warwick is also working with Daniela Cerqui, a social and cultural anthropologist from the University of Lausanne, to address the main social, ethical, philosophical and anthropological issues related to his research.www.kevinwarwick.com

Warwick’s areas of interest have many ethical implications, some due to his Human enhancement experiments. The ethical dilemmas in his research are highlighted as a case study for schoolchildren and science teachers by the Institute of Physics as a part of their formal Advanced level and GCSE studies. His work has also been directly discussed by The President’s Council on Bioethics and the President’s Panel on Forward Engagements. He is presently a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics Working Party on Novel Neurotechnologies.

His paper entitled Future issues with Robots and Cyborgs is ranked as the top paper, in terms of downloads per day, in the journal Studies in Ethics, Law and Technology.

Deep brain stimulation

Along with Tipu Aziz and his team at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, and John Stein of the University of Oxford, Warwick is helping to design the next generation of Deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease. Instead of stimulating the brain all the time, the aim is for the device to predict when stimulation is needed and to apply the signals prior to any tremors occurring to stop them before they even start.Wu, D., Warwick, K., Ma, Z., Burgess, J., Pan, S. and Aziz, T: “Prediction of Parkinson’s disease tremor onset using radial basis function neural networks”, Expert Systems with Applications, Vol.37, Issue.4, pp. 2923–2928, 2010

Public awareness

Warwick has headed a number of projects aimed at exciting schoolchildren about the technology with which he is involved. In 2000 he received the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Millennium Award for his Schools Robot League. Meanwhile in 2007, 16 school teams were involved in designing a humanoid robot to dance and then complete an assault course—a final competition being held at the Science Museum (London). The project, entitled ‘Androids Advance’ was supported by EPSRC and was presented as an evening news item on Chinese television.

Warwick contributes significantly to the public understanding of science by giving regular public lectures, taking part in radio programmes and through popular writing. He has appeared in numerous television documentary programmes on artificial intelligence, robotics and the role of science fiction in science, such as How William Shatner Changed the World, Future Fantastic and Explorations. He has also guested on a number of TV chat shows, including Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Først & sist, and Richard & Judy. Warwick has appeared on the cover of a number of magazines, for example the February 2000 edition of Wired.

In 2000 Warwick presented the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures entitled The Rise of the Robots. The lectures were well received by some and were even felt to be inspirational. Meanwhile in a letter Simon Colton complained about the choice of Warwick, prior to his appearance. He claimed that Warwick is not a spokesman for our subject (Artificial Intelligence) and allowing him influence through the Christmas lectures is a danger to the public perception of science. In light of Warwick’s claims that computers could be creative, Colton, who is a Reader in Computational Creativity, also said the AI community has done real science to reclaim words such as creativity and emotion which they claim computers will never have. Subsequent letters were generally positive, Ralph Rayner wrote With my youngest son, I attended all of the lectures and found them balanced and thought-provoking. They were not sensationalist. I applaud Warwick for his lectures.