Are you ready to become a cyborg? If yes, you’re not alone.
A new survey by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, in partnership with research group Opinium, found that about 63% of Europeans would definitely consider augmenting themselves if it meant improving their health or increasing their abilities.
“At Kaspersky, we are exploring the huge potential of human augmentation to make a positive contribution to our collective future, while also evaluating the challenges that humanity may encounter on that journey”
The survey involved 14,500 people across 16 countries. Italians ranked highest, with 83% of respondents saying they’d consider human augmentation. The biggest reasons included quality of life improvements, the potential to reduce suffering, and heightened performance.
Participants said they’d be most interested in improving their physical health. They also cited improved eyesight, a more attractive body, greater strength, and improved intelligence and brainpower.
Not everyone is looking forward to a cyborg future, though. Notably, acceptance of augmentation appears much higher in Spain and Portugal, while the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands rank highest among those most concerned.
Even among those who would be interested in human augmentation, there’s a deep suspicion and fear for what could go wrong. In Greece, for example, while acceptance is high, they also appear to be the most worried about hacking:
“Greece is something of an outlier. Greeks are much more likely to believe in human augmentation because it could improve the quality of life (67% compared to the average of 53%). While being the most concerned (96%) of all countries about criminal or hacker activity, people in Greece are also the most opposed to government regulation.”
In general, 69% of participants believe that such augmentations would likely be the domain of the rich. And even if they got one, a total of 88% are concerned that their implants would be hacked. Other concerns include malfunctioning devices and the potential for permanent damage to the body.
“With human augmentation, we’ll need a few pioneers and some success stories,” according to Professor Julian Savulescu from the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford University. “Once it’s proven to work, people will vote with their feet.”
It’s a tough issue. But as Kaspersky mentions in their study, we already make use of pacemakers, hearing aids, and eye glasses to augment ourselves. The smartphone, which most everyone carries with them, may also be considered a type of augmentation.
That said, when my phone is pestering me for a new update or my laptop once again decides to reboot itself, I can at least take solace in the fact that they’re not hardwired to my brain while that’s happening.