Four steps to the human augmentation

Throughout its history, humanity has always tried to improve its physical conditions, its performance, its abilities and at the same time it has always sought solutions to mitigate its weaknesses or disabilities.

Human Augmentation

In a way it has always tried to “increase” itself from the point of view of physical strength, sharpness of the senses and also of knowledge.

In this long journey it has always used the technologies that its historical period was able to make available to it: for example, it learned to build machines capable of performing some tiring or dangerous tasks instead of it and began to equip itself with devices that help overcome some of its disabilities. The eyeglasses that many of us wear are an excellent example of a device created to overcome or mitigate a disability and which in the space of a few decades has become commonplace, transforming itself into an aesthetic and fashion accessory.

Therefore, the attempt to strengthen and improve oneself, one’s body, one’s abilities, and even one’s knowledge is part of the human nature.

If we apply this principles to the enabling technologies that are available today, and to the emerging technologies that we expect to be available in the coming years and that will allow us to create new products, services and digital platforms, we can guess what will be the new ways the human being will try to increase itself and that today constitute an international research field with the name of Human Augmentation and which is articulated according to four main lines.

1st line

The first line is defined by the future massive presence on the market of a new generation of devices: smart glasses. In the past we have already seen some prototypes of this class of devices and today there are some products on the market, but these are still not very mature solutions from a technological point of view and still lacking a real ecosystem of contents and services. The “killer application” is still missing, but the supporting technologies in terms of computational power, resolution of the screen component and battery life are also missing, however these technological limitations will be soon overtaken and this new class of devices will become extremely widespread.

Smart glasses will be capable of significantly improving our interaction with reality and we will be able to fully experience the Extended Reality, the union of different paradigms of interaction with reality: physical, virtual, augmented and mixed reality.

With these tools we will be able to access new types of entertainment contents, such as completely immersive video games, concerts that we will be able to experience virtually on stage with the band, virtual visits to museums or tourist destinations.

In everyday life these glasses will add layers of information to what we see, for example allowing us to have navigation information directly in our field of view, or to automatically access information about the place we are visiting, a work of art that we are looking in a museum, a person we are talking to, or reviews of the restaurant in front of us, without having to do anything but look at it.

There will be a lot of work to do for content, service and application providers who will find themselves a completely new channel to use and it is conceivable that this channel could quickly become the priority channel. We could therefore move from “mobile first” to “glasses first”.

It would really be an interesting change of perspective.

2nd line

The second line will consist of the large family of wearable devices.

Among the wearables devices, in addition to the smart glasses we have already talked about, we will increasingly find watches, bracelets, rings, bands or various kinds of sensors very close to our body and which will have, among others, the aim of collecting data on our health: from the simple heartbeat to the electrocardiogram up to the measurement of the percentage of oxygen in the blood, the quantity and type of movement we make, hydration and even the quantity and quality of our sleep.

All these data will be an enormous knowledge base that can be provided to our doctor for monitoring our health, but it can also become part of a larger ecosystem of knowledge composed by data from the entire population and which, in full compliance with the privacy, will be made available to artificial intelligence algorithms able to find new correlations between data and pathologies and therefore make a wider contribution to medical research.

As a further evolution we will have chips directly connected to our body or brain in the future, there are already some ongoing experiments and the ultimate goal is to allow humans to communicate with a machine by simply using thoughts. It sounds like science fiction, but we’re getting there.

3rd line

The third line will be represented by the complete paradigm shift in the relationship between people and machines and will be enabled by the incredible increase in the quality of voice interaction.

Today we are used to voice assistants who understand little what we say and therefore are limited to trivial and repetitive tasks, but in the future the level of interaction will soon become comparable to what we have between humans , because to the improvement of the recognition component of the natural language will be added a complete understanding of the context and above all the ability to transform long and complex sentences into operational sequences of commands to be placed in the right order and to be addressed to external service providers who will be part of the ecosystem.

People and organizations who provide services will therefore also have to take care of making them interoperable and integrated within that ecosystem, so that they can no longer be used only by the direct action of people, but also and above all in “machine to machine” mode, so that the machines in a totally automatic way will be able to communicate with each other and carry out tasks for us.

4th line

The fourth line will be the increasingly “invasive” (in a certain sense) use of 3D printing.

Today we are used to think of 3D printing as a technology dedicated to industrial applications, prototyping or the production of small objects to be made at home with personal printers.

Actually, with 3D printing it will be possible to create prostheses for amputated people, with extremely simplified design and production processes compared to current technologies and them at much lower and accessible costs.

Furthermore, with technologies similar to 3D printing, some solutions are already being tested for the production of simple human tissues, such as the skin, but also of human organs of higher complexity and there are even studies on the possibility of 3D printing a beating tissues that, if into the right conditions, could act like the heart muscle tissue.

With the same methodologies it will be possible to mix biological tissues and mechanical, robotic or electronic components, with the result of being able to 3D print enhanced organs, limbs that will be able to recover their functionality and even body components that are currently unimaginable, with a low risk of rejection and from very high potential.

On this side, enormous evolutions await us in the future, to the benefit of people’s health and the quality of our life.


Enabling and emerging technologies will therefore play a fundamental role in creating technological solutions capable of increasing the potential of the human being.

A fundamental role will also, of course, be played by all those professionals and companies capable not only of creating excellent solutions and digital platforms, but also and above all of innovating the model itself, inventing new ways to improve people’s lives, helping them to pushing their limits and improving their skills.

Throughout this extraordinary journey, technology is our friend, it is up to us to make the most of it for the good of humanity.

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