We asked Kevin Warwick to comment on his current work and ideas that have influenced him. Kevin is appearing in the festival on 20 May talking about robotics, AI and the future.

Which of your own ideas have you been thinking about most recently?
The possibility of thought communication – that is the direct transmission of neural signals between the brains of two humans. Will this change language/Will this open up questions as to how we think? Will it enable us to read each others thoughts?

What idea of someone else has made most impact on you recently?
Michael Collins said that happiness depends on how we set our sights. If we don’t expect too much then we are more likely to be happy. Not sure that I agree with it but it’s made me think about what it means to be happy.

What are the most important books/articles/websites of ideas that everyone should read and why?
Kafka’s Metamorphosis – asks many questions about the future in which brain and body are separate entities. There’s also a new quiz on Discovery-Curiosity concerned with Biomechanics – it’s interesting to tackle that. Of course you should have a look atwww.kevinwarwick.com.

In 1910 Charles Masterman asked ‘What will the future make of the present?’ What do you think people in the future will make of the present?
They will think how backward we are. They will wonder how we could possibly have held the idiotic scientific views that we do. They would wonder how we could survive with the type of energy supplies that we use. They will wonder how we could possibly have used so much carbon based fuel.

What are you most pessimistic about?
Intelligent Machines taking over the world.

What are you most optimistic about?
The possibility of wireless power transmission. Future transport will be powered remotely.

Who are your heroes?
Michael Faraday, John F. Kennedy, Robert Falcon Scott, Charles Lindberg, Marie Curie, Charles Darwin.