The future is cyborg: Two-thirds of Western Europeans would consider augmenting their bodies with technology to improve their lives, study finds
- Moscow-based security firm Kaspersky commissioned a poll on body ‘upgrades’
- Those interested in augmentation were largely attracted by the health benefits
- In Portugal and Spain, 60 per cent of those polled would consider enhancement
- However, only a quarter of Britons expressed an interest in cyborg body parts
Two-thirds of Western Europeans would consider augmenting their bodies with technology if it improved their lives — and especially their health — a study found.
Commissioned by Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, a survey found that 63 per cent of people on average would be interested in getting an ‘upgrade’ or two.
However, results varied from country-to-country, with only 25 percent of Britons interested in augmentation compared to 60 per cent in Portugal and Spain.
Two-thirds of Western Europeans would consider augmenting their bodies with technology if it improved their lives — and especially their health — a study found. Pictured, Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard after joining the Borg, a race of cybernetically enhanced beings
‘Human augmentation is one of the most significant technology trends today,’ said Kaspersky’s European director of global research and analysis, Marco Preuss.
‘Augmentation enthusiasts are already testing the limits of what’s possible.
‘We need commonly agreed standards to ensure augmentation reaches its full potential while minimising the risks,’ he added.
The study, conducted by Opinium Research, polled 14,500 people across 16 European countries — including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
The researchers found that the French as Swiss were almost as apprehensive about augmentation as the British — with only 32 and 36 per cent of citizens, respectively, saying that they would consider it.
Potential augmentations might include significant modifications to turbo-charge the brain or help guard against cancer — to more low-key upgrades like embedding chips into one’s arms to unlock cars or electronic doors.
The survey also revealed that most people want human augmentation to work for the betterment of humanity, though there were concerns that it would be dangerous for society and open to exploitation by hackers.
The majority of respondents also said that they felt that only the rich would be able to afford access to human augmentation technology
Last month, Elon Musk’s neuroscience start-up — Neuralink — unveiled a pig named Gertrude that has had a coin-sized computer chip in its brain for two months that can track her brain activity, much like a ‘FitBit for the mind’.
The implant is intended as a demonstration of an an early step towards similar devices that could help cure human conditions like dementia or Parkinson’s disease — or even to control electronic devices mentally.
HOW DO MICROCHIPS IMPLANTED UNDER HUMAN SKIN WORK?
Several Swedish firms are implanting their employees with microchips under their skin which can be used to replace keys, credit cards and train tickets.
The small implants use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, the same as in contactless credit cards or mobile payments.
When activated by a reader a few centimetres (inches) away, a small amount of data flows between the two devices via electromagnetic waves.
The implants are ‘passive,’ meaning they contain information that other devices can read, but cannot read information themselves.
Near Field Communication (NFC) as contactless bank cards, and London’s oyster cards, suggesting it could be used further afield one day.