Hours after the UK supreme court delivered perhaps the most humiliating and significant of Boris Johnson’s defeats, the British prime minister delivered his inaugural speech to the UN General Assembly.
Johnson’s theme was the opportunities and challenges of technology and he ranged across a variety of subjects, from mattresses that can monitor your nightmares to a diet of “terrifying limbless chickens”. Here is a selection of his quotes:
“In the future, voice connectivity will be in every room and almost every object: your mattress will monitor your nightmares; your fridge will beep for more cheese.”
“A future Alexa will pretend to take orders. But this Alexa will be watching you, clucking her tongue and stamping her foot.”
“You may keep secrets from your friends, from your parents, your children, your doctor – even your personal trainer – but it takes real effort to conceal your thoughts from Google.”
“AI – what will it mean? Helpful robots washing and caring for an ageing population? Or pink-eyed terminators sent back from the future to cull the human race?”
“What will synthetic biology stand for – restoring our livers and our eyes with miracle regeneration of the tissues, like some fantastic hangover cure? Or will it bring terrifying limbless chickens to our tables?”
“When Prometheus brought fire to mankind. In a tube of fennel, as you may remember, that Zeus punished him by chaining him to a Tartarean crag while his liver was pecked out by an eagle. And every time his liver regrew the eagle came back and pecked it again. And this went on forever – a bit like the experience of Brexit in the UK, if some of our parliamentarians had their way.”