The Future of Human Augmentation 2020 - Opportunity or Dangerous Dream? A Kaspersky Report - Kaspersky Lab

Page created by Erin Pham
The Future of Human Augmentation 2020 - Opportunity or Dangerous Dream? A Kaspersky Report - Kaspersky Lab
The Future of Human
Augmentation 2020
Opportunity or Dangerous Dream?

A Kaspersky Report
The Future of Human Augmentation 2020 - Opportunity or Dangerous Dream? A Kaspersky Report - Kaspersky Lab
• Executive summary

• The global understanding of

• Body focus: how people feel about

• 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
                                      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?
The Future of Human Augmentation 2020 - Opportunity or Dangerous Dream? A Kaspersky Report - Kaspersky Lab
of people would change a
physical aspect of themselves
if they could

would consider augmenting
our bodies with technology
to improve them – either
permanently or temporarily

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.

                                    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 Future of Human Augmentation 2020 - Opportunity or Dangerous Dream? A Kaspersky Report - Kaspersky Lab
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

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?
The Future of Human Augmentation 2020 - Opportunity or Dangerous Dream? A Kaspersky Report - Kaspersky Lab
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

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
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.
                                                                                       “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?
                                          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

“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 Lab, 1st Floor
2 Kingdom Street
London, W2 6BD, UK
You can also read