The Future of Human Augmentation 2020 - Opportunity or Dangerous Dream? A Kaspersky Report - Kaspersky Lab
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Index • Executive summary • The global understanding of augmentation • Body focus: how people feel about augmentation • Cost: Is human augmentation the preserve of the wealthy? • Threats: criminals and hacking • Security and Human Augmentation: The Expert View • Country-by-country breakdown and analysis • Conclusion Introduction • About the survey We want to spark debate around Since the dawn of time, humanity has sought to ‘augment’ the bodies we the ethics and security of human were given to allow us to go further, augmentation, understand how faster and higher than our natural people feel about it and debunk any abilities allow. From bows and arrows myths around the topic. to improve the range of our hunting, to glasses to restore our vision, To gain a sense of how people across to pacemakers to keep our hearts Europe and North Africa perceive pumping – we have found ways to human augmentation, Kaspersky use the technology open to us to partnered with research group enhance ourselves – and often even Opinium to interview more than save our lives. 14,000 people in 16 countries. In the digital era, ‘human What emerges is a complex study augmentation’ has taken on a whole that reveals widely contrasting views new dimension. Sci-fi movies such on what people would enhance, as Terminator, Universal Soldier or which elements augmentation RoboCop, might conjure up images should be allowed to improve, of a part-organic, part-cyborg ethics, security, and government future, but what is the reality? involvement in the form of future regulation. At Kaspersky, we are exploring the huge potential of human This research forms a critical part augmentation to make a positive of Kaspersky’s exploration of human contribution to our collective future, augmentation going forward, as we while also evaluating the challenges ask the difficult question: Is human that humanity may encounter on that augmentation an opportunity for journey. This is because, to enjoy the humanity or a dangerous dream? fruits of human augmentation fully, devices will require robust security. 1 The Future of Human Augmentation 2020: Opportunity or Dangerous Dream?
92% of people would change a physical aspect of themselves if they could 63% would consider augmenting our bodies with technology to improve them – either permanently or temporarily 81% of Italians would consider human augmentation, 18% above the survey average Executive summary 53% Augmentation, and all it Countries in southern Europe – such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, of those in favour of encapsulates, is a burgeoning area augmentation believe it will of technology. It is also one that are far more open to the potential of improve quality of life and 40% remains an underexplored – or human augmentation than many of would use augmentation to even sensationalised – topic in the their northern neighbours. improve their overall media. So far, its potential and the physical health benefits to society have been little Everywhere without exception, those understood. who agree with human augmentation place overall physical health as their How do we define ‘human priority and cite augmentation’s 69% augmentation’? Up until now, our view of augmentation has meant potential to improve life as the key reason to support it. fear human augmentation will be accessible only to the rich tools that help us function better in our daily lives - pacemakers for Perhaps unsurprisingly, we observe heart rhythm, glasses for vision and more support for augmentation hearing aids to combat deafness. that will improve physical health and eyesight as people get older, while 88% However, with human augmentation going forward, we are really looking at for younger people, appearance worry their augmented bodies and sporting ability are key human enhancement with the aid of could be hacked by cybercriminals considerations. technology. We’re not even talking about the At Kaspersky, we want to understand future; we have already seen the how people perceive human 39% first steps to human augmentation. augmentation, its potential benefits of people think human The biohacking community is already and the challenges it presents. augmentation will be super active. In many cities, there What is clear is that we need to dangerous for society are communities who are meeting up learn from history; whenever there and working on changing their human is new technology, there come new biology. challenges. 48% Our study finds that, while the vast of men feel it’s ‘completely’ or majority of people would like to Marco Preuss, Director of Global ‘mostly’ acceptable to augment a improve a physical aspect of their Research & Analysis Team, body with technology, compared person, far less are open to actually Kaspersky to 38% of women doing it. 2 The Future of Human Augmentation 2020: Opportunity or Dangerous Dream?
The global understanding of ‘human augmentation’ People around the world are already familiar with existing forms of human augmentation, such as the use of pacemakers to regulate heart rhythm, a hearing aid to improve audibility, or glasses to improve vision. Worldwide, our study finds that people are more likely to be in favour of existing human augmentation than potential future augmentation. Of those who say augmentation is For example, for two thirds (65%) acceptable, women (44%) are more of people who say augmentation is likely than men (35%) to say that unacceptable but that pacemakers people should choose to improve are acceptable, the chief reason is their bodies however they like. because they are important for living a full and healthy life. For Professor Julian Savulescu from the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Overall, our study finds that across Practical Ethics at Oxford University, the world, people want augmentation humans are already honed for to work for the good of humanity and technological augmentation, thanks society, to improve life and to reduce to our interaction with mobile suffering. devices: Nearly half of men (48%) believe it is “With human augmentation, we’ll ‘completely’ or ‘mostly’ acceptable need a few pioneers and some for humans to augment their bodies success stories,” he explains. “Once using technology, compared to 38% it’s proven to work, people will vote of women. with their feet.” Reasons for Human Augmentation Being Acceptable % of those who believe it is acceptable Improve the quality of life 53% Choice to improve their body however they want 39% Help reduce suffering 39% We should always strive to improve our performance and abilities 29% We have always augmented our bodies 21% Improve society 14% It is inevitable anyway 14% Lead to greater equality 12% Improve the economy 11% 3 The Future of Human Augmentation 2020: Opportunity or Dangerous Dream?
Body focus: How people Physical attributes people most want to improve feel about augmentation Men Women Given the opportunity, the vast majority (92%) of people say they Improved intelligence/brainpower 22% 23% would improve a physical aspect of themselves if they could. Just under Greater strength 23% 18% two thirds (63%) of people would consider augmenting their body – More attractive body 25% 36% either permanently or temporarily. Italians are the most likely to consider Improved eyesight 33% 33% augmentation (81%) and UK adults are the least likely to (33%). Better overall physical health 37% 42% “My main concern with When asked what physical attributes According to Kaspersky’s Marco human augmentation is people in 16 markets most wanted to Preuss, there are both dangers and improve, overall physical health (40%) opportunities to consider when the biohacking community was the number one choice for enhancing the body with human itself. We will see vendors augmentation, followed by improved augmentation. producing kits to augment eyesight (33%). Being able to health elements, whether augment a more attractive body was “As with other technology, we’ll see it’s eyesight, strength, or a consideration for more than a third early adopters who are willing to (36%) of women and just a quarter compromise their security for the something else, and we (25%) of men, while men were more perceived benefits of augmentation,” will see a lot of copycats likely to opt for greater strength Preuss comments. trying to copy that kind of (23%) than women (18%). technology, which is not So, what are the perceived benefits licensed or tested. We might Of those who would consider human of human augmentation? augmentation, just over one in ten Across the board, by far the biggest find a black market for body men (11%) would like to enhance perceived benefit by those who enhancement kits because their genitals compared to only agree with human augmentation it’s unregulated.” two percent of women. Four in ten was its potential to improve the (40%) of women who would consider quality of life (53%). Nearly four in ten David Jacoby augmentation would opt for a more (39%) of those in favour of human Kaspersky attractive body compared to just augmentation say they think it would 27% of men. help reduce suffering. The desire to improve overall physical Zoltan Istvan, author and founder health and eyesight increases with of the Transhumanist Party, also age; for example, just a third (33%) warns that people will need to keep of 18-34-year-olds would improve up with Artificial Intelligence in order their physical health compared to to compete for work in the not too 45% of those aged over 55. On the distant future. “The biggest issue of other hand, people aged 18-34 (38%) the debate is really what would you are twice as likely as the over-55s do in order to remain employed? I (19%) to want a more attractive body. think that’s where the augmentation We observe similar preferences debate is going to be most dramatic,” among the young for enhanced he says. sporting prowess and having a more attractive face. 4 The Future of Human Augmentation 2020: Opportunity or Dangerous Dream?
Cost: Is human “There is a debate augmentation the everywhere about the affordability of human preserve of the wealthy? augmentation. In the Almost seven in ten (69%) of people beginning, when human worldwide think it likely that only rich augmentation is new, this people will be able to enjoy access technology will be a luxury, to human augmentation technology. then – as is often the way The most sceptical are people in the UK, where more than three quarters with emerging technology – it (78%) believe it likely that human will become more affordable augmentation technology will be and accessible and enter the limited to the rich, compared to the mainstream.” least sceptical nations of Spain (57%) and Denmark (62%). David Jacoby Kaspersky Threats: criminals and hacking The top five aspects of human augmentation that people are ‘very concerned’ about Overall, people are most likely to be excited by the idea of human augmentation (33%). Women (21%) Devices malfunctioning regularly 24% are slightly more likely than men (15%) to be much more concerned than Private companies controlling 28% excited by augmentation. the technology exclusively However, 39% of people believe Human augmentation technology that human augmentation will be 30% only available to the rich dangerous for society. This figure rises to more than half of adults in A device causing permanent France (53%) and the UK (52%). 34% damage to the body Cybercriminals hacking and/or controlling a device 38% A natural concern for everyone The UK is most in favour of is security. The fear of criminals government regulation (77%), or hackers being able to access a compared to just 17% in Greece. device or to control it is a concern for almost nine in ten (88%) people Kaspersky’s David Jacoby says interviewed. Greeks are the most governments must learn lessons concerned about criminal or hacker from the explosion of the Internet of access (95%) and control (94%) over Things (IoT) market in recent years. devices. “We found ourselves all of a sudden Devices malfunctioning (86%) and in a world where so many devices devices causing permanent damage were connected but there was no to the body (85%) are also key regulation or strategy around these.. concerns. Anyone can release any kind of product they want. Before we repeat Given these concerns, how do history and have mass adoption people feel about government of augmentation technology, we regulation of human augmentation? should stop and think about how On average, nearly half (47%) believe we regulate this for the good of governments should regulate, but humanity.,” he adds. this topic divides opinion. 5 The Future of Human Augmentation 2020: Opportunity or Dangerous Dream?
Security and Human Augmentation: The Expert View Human augmentation has saved many lives and improved the experience of millions every day. We haven’t yet seen a real, widespread security threat to, say, pacemakers, but we do need to go into the future with our eyes wide open to both the benefits – and potential challenges – “Letting the market decide of human augmentation. the future direction of human augmentation is not the Anything that is connected and that you can communicate with could get way. We’re already seeing hacked. It is not even just a case of an unravelling of potential hacking; an individual could simply because of the dominance knock out a device. of market forces. We need a global strategy to make sure Everything that becomes regulated by the government has the potential we harness the potential of to end up on the black market in human augmentation for some form. There is already an good.” enormous biohacking community that will tag along, and people will Professor Julian Savulescu Country-by-Country even biohack themselves. Oxford University Breakdown and Analysis Can we draw any conclusions from country-by-country observations? Countries ranked: After all, culture affects everything Is human augmentation acceptable? we do. Cultures will read the same data or email, for example, and Portugal 60% interpret it in a different way because of their culture. Spain 60% Morocco 53% How people feel about human augmentation will evolve as solutions Italy 50% become part of our everyday – like hearing aids, pacemakers and glasses Greece 48% have already – so we can expect Romania 46% opinions to morph over time. Hungary 44% Currently, it appears that the Belgium 41% countries of southern Europe - Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece Denmark 40% – along with Morocco across the Mediterranean, are the most open to Germany 39% the potential of human augmentation Austria 37% that many countries in the centre and north of Europe. Czech Republic 37% Netherlands 37% The people in the Iberian nations of Spain and Portugal are the most Switzerland 36% open to the prospect of human augmentation, with 60% of each France 32% country believing it is acceptable. United Kingdom 25% Just nine percent of Spaniards are against the idea, compared to 36% of Britons and 30% of French adults. 6 The Future of Human Augmentation 2020: Opportunity or Dangerous Dream?
Italians are the most open to human augmentation with more than The countries most excited - and concerned - eight in ten (81%) open to the idea. by human augmentation Hungarians (76%) and Moroccans (75%) are also highly supportive of human augmentation. Most concerned Most excited Greece is something of an outlier. Greeks are much more likely to believe in human augmentation because it could improve the quality 58% 28% of life (67% compared to the average of 53%). While being the most concerned (96%) of all countries about criminal or hacker activity, United Kingdom Morocco people in Greece are also the most opposed to government regulation. For one of Europe’s most technically advanced and wealthiest countries, the UK is perhaps surprisingly 49% 27% hesitant about human augmentation. Just one third (33%) of Britons would be open to human augmentation – the lowest of countries surveyed. Netherlands Italy A third (34%) of people in the UK believe human augmentation is ‘unacceptable’, more than three times the ratio of Spain, the most open country. 47% 26% Across all countries, being able to improve overall physical health is the first choice, but in the UK having a more attractive body was France Spain second choice by just one percent. Similarly, having a better body was second choice in France by just two percentiles. Being able to have France, like its neighbour in the UK, Moroccans are the most optimistic a better body was also the second appears not to be overly enthusiastic (49%) for human augmentation’s choice in Belgium and Greece. about human augmentation. For potential to level the playing field those in France who believe human and encourage equality, while Brits augmentation is acceptable, just 39% (19%) and the Swiss (20%) are the say it would improve the quality of least optimistic. Moroccans are also life, well below the survey average of most likely to believe that human 53%. augmentation will make it easier for humans to express themselves While we have seen that Italians are creatively (58%), compared to just very open to human augmentation, 18% of UK adults. more than half (52%) on adults in Italy think that is could be dangerous for society and this might help explain why Italians are far more open to government regulation of human augmentation (72%) than the survey average (47%). 7 The Future of Human Augmentation 2020: Opportunity or Dangerous Dream?
Conclusion Zoltan Istvan highlights that there is We’re right at the very beginning of a lot of money heading into human the modern human augmentation augmentation, and he believes that journey. Debates around the brain implants and neuro-prosthetics potential benefits and challenges will in particular will be a real game- emerge and develop over the coming changer. “There is no question in my decades. mind that within five to seven years’ you will walk into a major supermarket It’s also important to remember and be able to buy some type of that augmentation will go beyond headset that can already get you human augmentation; the machines thinking in real-time in the cloud.” we interact with and rely on – for example, cars and planes, will also For Kaspersky’s Marco Preuss, be augmented and enhanced by regulation is essential for human technology. augmentation to advance in a safe way that will ultimately benefit society. “Trust in government will vary from country to country, but regardless, regulation is necessary to avoid abuse” Preuss concludes. “It involves the body, so it is a risk to health, and as such perhaps should be regulated in the same way to medical technology and supplies. The average person does not have the technical expertise to fully estimate the various security risks, both immediate and long term. i also believe that regulation should be something that is considered from the first adoption of such technology, as well as security being factored in by design, rather than as an afterthought. However, we have already seen the first steps in human augmentation, yet no regulation so far.” Marco Preuss Director of Global Research & Analysis Team, Kaspersky About the study The fieldwork was conducted by Opinium Research between 9-27 July 2020. Opinium canvassed 14,500 adults in 16 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Kaspersky Kaspersky Lab, 1st Floor 2 Kingdom Street London, W2 6BD, UK www.kaspersky.com
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