As a lifelong swaggerer, I have long been aware that a walk says a lot about a person.
We all know those who scurry, amble, mince and even drag themselves from A to B.
But it now appears that the way we walk could be used against us in future. Scientists have conducted the most comprehensive study yet into what a walk says about us. Researchers took 29 volunteers and tested them for a variety of personality traits including openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. They used cameras and a treadmill on the human guinea pigs to work out whether the walks matched their personalities with the key conclusion being that aggressive types tend to walk like Liam Gallagher.
This may not be the most astounding finding of recent times but it could prove to be another nail in the coffin of our already diminishing civil liberties. It has been suggested that in future a walk could be used to tackle crime – that CCTV operators could spot someone with the moves of a villain and prevent a crime from taking place. It is some way off but if, in years to come, lawmakers are convinced by the research, then anyone who walks like they have a broken backside could find themselves labelled as a possible fugitive.
It seems that there is no hiding place in 21st Century Britain, a country where you are seemingly closer to a surveillance camera than you are to a humble sewer rat.
I have long been in the camp that believes that those who live within the law have absolutely nothing to fear from Big Brother but, as technology develops, it seems the authorities’ ability to keep a close eye on law-abiding citizens improves by the day. This is an issue which has long been debated and that will continue to be the case. Yes, we want our families to be safe from villains, but at what point do we say ‘enough is enough’?
It is impressive that science could allow experts to determine an individual’s character by studying their walk, but it is how we use that information which worries me the most. After all, if we started locking up people on the basis of their swagger then I would have spent half a lifetime wearing a grey prison-issue sweatshirt and eating porridge.