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The Ghosts of Christmas Future: Robots and Cyborgs – University of Reading

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The Ghosts of Christmas Future: Robots and Cyborgs

Release Date 15 November 2005

Professor Kevin WarwickReal-life cyborg and cybernetics expert Professor Kevin Warwick will be making a special 'Christmas Presentation' at the University of Reading this December, giving schoolchildren the chance to meet some of the spectacular robots developed by Kevin's team – including a Dalek, the 'Seven Dwarfs' and Morgui. Kevin is taking the lecture on a mini tour of the country, including dates in London, Hereford, Portsmouth, Guildford and Cardiff, before finishing in Reading. The Reading event, which has been organised by the University's Widening Participation Office [2] on the afternoon of 12 December, has already proved so popular that it's completely sold out, with students coming from a host of schools in the local area. But there's no need to be disappointed – due to the high demand for seats, Kevin will be giving an extra presentation on the morning of 12 December. During the lecture, which has been specially arranged for a family audience, Kevin and his team will give a scientific yet entertaining view of our potential future. The audience will be treated to interactive hands-on experiments, video footage and original demonstrations in a one-hour-long look at what life might be like for all of us – a future world full of robots and cyborgs, part-human part-machine creatures. "This presentation is proving so popular because we promise to take the audience into the world of the cyborg," said Kevin, who once had a computer chip implanted into his arm. "People are fascinated by the idea of evolving humans by linking them directly with technology. Just think of what it would be like to be linked directly into a computer network – upgraded memory, extra senses, multi-dimensional thought and the ability to communicate with others merely by thought alone." With the help of the robots developed at the University of Reading, and with assistance from members of the audience, Kevin will take a look at what it actually means for a robot to be intelligent and how this relates to Science Fiction films such as 'I Robot', 'The Terminator', 'Star Trek' and 'The Matrix'. "The overall aim of the presentation is to inform people about the possibilities of robots and cyborgs in an entertaining and stimulating way," said Kevin. "But be warned – this is not mere scientific speculation: the era of the robot and cyborg will shortly be upon us." 'The Ghosts of Christmas Future: Robots and Cyborgs' takes place at the Palmer Building on the University of Reading's Whiteknights campus, between 11am and 12pm. For reservations and further information, please contact Rachel Fretwell. T: 0118 378 6127, E: r.fretwell@reading.ac.uk This lecture is a Widening Participation event and is not to be confused with the University's annual Children's Christmas Lecture. End Notes for editors 1. Kevin Warwick is Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading and is a pioneering experimenter, himself having received a number of implants for scientific purposes – in the last of these his nervous system was connected directly into the internet. He received the Future of Health Technology Award from MIT (USA), was made an Honorary Member of the Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg and was given the IEE Achievement Award in 2004. He appeared on the cover of the USA magazine "Wired" and presented the year 2000 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. 2. The University of Reading's Widening Participation Office organises and runs a range of outreach activities on and off campus to raise the aspiration and ability of young people who might not otherwise feel that higher education is for them, or who face personal barriers which might prevent them from making the most of educational opportunities. For more information, see http://www.reading.ac.uk/wideningparticipation 3. Professor Warwick is available for interview, and high-resolution digital images of the robots and Professor Warwick are available for media use. Contact: Kevin Warwick. T: 0118 378 8210 E: k.warwick@reading.ac.uk Craig Hillsley. T: 0118 378 7388 E: c.hillsley@reading.ac.uk

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