With brain implant companies like Neuralink on the verge of merging humanity with AI, humanity may one day be as augmented as characters in science fiction. However, with science almost at the stage of human augmentation, many are preparing for the inevitable backlash from religious groups.
Religious groups vs Human Augmentation
In a report by The Pew Research Center, religious groups well be the biggest barrier to creating human augmentation products. Enhancements such as brain implants, exoskeletons and gene editing — to improve health or enhance bodies — will be criticised by highly religious crowds.
From exoskeletons to brain implants, religious followers in America — primarily Christians — were far more likely to denounce the technology. In a majority of situations, religious survey members believed that augments would be “meddling with nature” and crossing “a line we should not cross”.
In the report, 81% of people who identify as highly religious disagree with the prospect of brain implants. Additionally, 63% of moderately religious people oppose the tech with 50% of people with low faith unhappy with the idea.
Gene editing — a highly controversial idea — was slightly less opposed. For example, was sightly more accepted idea with 72% of highly religious, 53% medium religious and 36% lowly religious people opposing editing.
Additionally, robotic exoskeletons — proposed to survey members as a tool for manual labour — was even more accepted. In this case, only 48% of highly religious people were against the idea with 38% and 20% of the medium and low groups also against it.
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Natural vs Forced Evolution
The idea of technology like brain implants has long been a focus of science fiction and cyberpunk literature. Media often touches on the idea of enhancing humanity in order to prematurely unlock evolutionary features or simply to aid in accessibility.
Of course, these stories also touch on zealots’ insistence than this technology is against nature, despite how much the tech can help people. This isn't new; even now certain medical procedures are protested against by religious crowds.
We won't quite know the exact reaction from the public will be when the individual technologies become commercialised. However, as with most things, the literature will most likely be more prediction than fiction.