New research carried out by security company Kaspersky unveils disparity over a future shared with augmented people – in their family, workplace, and even personal life.

The study finds that a lack of understanding around human augmentation could be holding back innovative developments.

Nearly half (46,5%) of European adults believe that people should be free to enhance their own body with human augmentation technology, but many harbour concerns about the longer-term societal impact of such technology.

Human augmentation comes in two forms: it can either be required due to health grounds – such as the use of bionic limb – or people can choose to augment themselves, for example, by inserting radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips.

Just 12% of the survey respondents would be opposed to working with an augmented person because they feel they have an unfair advantage in the workplace. However, nearly two in every five (39%) adults has concerns that human augmentation could lead to either future social inequality or conflict. Overall, nearly half (49%) are either “excited” or “optimistic” about a future society that includes both augmented and non-augmented people.

According to Kaspersky’s study, more than half (51%) of survey participants say that they have met someone with an augmentation. When it comes to personal life, nearly half (45%) would have no issue dating someone with an augmentation, and 5.5% say that they have already dated an augmented person.

More than a third say they have “always been accepting” of augmented people and 17% say that they are more accepting now than they were ten years ago. Half of European men (50%) say that they are either “excited” or “optimistic” about the future shared by both augmented and non-augmented people, compared to 40% of women.

If a family member required augmentation technology on health grounds, people would be most comfortable if a family member had a bionic arm (38%) or leg (37%). Nearly three in ten (29,5%) respondents would support a family member who decided to augment themselves, regardless of their choice. Just 16,5% of the survey participants view choosing to augment oneself as “weird”, while nearly a quarter (24%) view self-augmentation as “brave”.

Just over a quarter (27%) believe that augmented people should have special representation at a governmental level, compared to 41% who oppose the idea.