World America 26 Sep 2019 Boris Johnson talks ...

Boris Johnson talks about chickens, robots, baffles UN delegates

AFP
Published Sep 26, 2019, 12:56 am IST
Updated Sep 26, 2019, 12:56 am IST
He made no mention of Britain’s top court ruling earlier in the day that his decision to suspend Parliament amid a Brexit impasse was unlawful.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

United Nations, US: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered an unconventional speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that referenced “terrifying limbless chickens” and “pink-eyed terminators” but only mentioned Brexit once.

During a late-night, 20-minute address that drew baffled looks from delegates, Johnson struck a light tone on a serious subject as he warned of technology’s capacity to control citizens.

 

He made no mention of Britain’s top court ruling earlier in the day that his decision to suspend Parliament amid a Brexit impasse was unlawful.

Johnson painted the possibility of a future where devices in every household “monitor your nightmares, your fridge,” and where smart cities are “as antiseptic as a Zurich pharmacy.” “‘Alexa’ will pretend to take orders but it will be watching you, clapping her tongue and stamping her foot,” Johnson said, suggesting “there may be nowhere to hide.” “As new technologies seem to race towards us we strain our eyes as they come, to make out whether they are for good or bad, friends or foes.

 

“AI, what will it mean?” he asked of artificial intelligence. “Helpful robots washing and caring for an ageing population or pink-eyed terminators sent back from the future to cull the human race?” Johnson pondered.

He went on to wonder whether synthetic biology could restore tissues “like some fantastic hangover cure” or “bring terrifying limbless chickens to our tables.” Johnson also referenced one of his favorite subjects, Greek mythology, by telling the story of Zeus punishing Prometheus by ensuring that an eagle ate his liver over and over again.

 

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