Security & Ethics of Human Augmentation Workshop

On 18th November 2021, KTN’s Neurotechnology Innovation Network, in collaboration with national security and defence partners, is hosting an interactive workshop to discuss Human Augmentation (including neurotechnology, wearables, smart prosthetics, virtual/augmented reality) and its cybersecurity, national security and ethical implications.

Event Details


09.30 - 13.00



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Advances in neurotechnology promise better health, better memory, better concentration, healthier ageing and an enhanced understanding of how the brain functions. Breakthrough innovations will give hope to millions of patients with neurological diseases, mental health disorders and related conditions currently beyond the reach of pharmacology and other therapeutic methods.

Human augmentation technologies raise the possibility of exceeding our natural human capabilities, for example, smart prosthetics could in the future be used to provide enhanced strength and agility, or brain-computer interfaces linked to AI could enhance human intelligence. Technologies like AR and VR have the potential to blur the virtual and real world. However, we do not live in a utopian world and so these same technologies could be used to degrade human capabilities and/or in ways that are not compatible with our western democratic values.

No technological development is risk-free, and neurotechnology and other human augmentation technologies present some important challenges with respect to technical readiness, public acceptance, governance, privacy, security, data ownership and social equity.

This raises questions such as:

  • Are augmentation devices and the associated system’s they are part of sufficiently cybersecure against adversarial entities that may try to exploit these devices to alter, block or eavesdrop on neural signals?
  • How can we help ensure human augmentation devices will be secure in 10+ years’ time?
  • How do we prevent the use of Human Augmentation technologies for nefarious purposes
  • What happens if a smart prosthetic malfunction in a critical situation?
  • What are the national security implications of Human Augmentation Technologies?
  • How can Human Augmentation Technologies be used to promote a free, open and democratic society?

Why attend this event?

In this workshop we will discuss some of the major security challenges facing Human Augmentation Technology development, from a technology standpoint as well as the ethical and national security challenges faced by this emerging technology.

Insights from this workshop will feed into ongoing international discussions around human augmentation and will also help inform future investment opportunities.

Who should attend this event?

We are looking for a broad cross section of the neurotechnology community to attend this event, including academics, industry, policy makers and security experts.


  • 09:30 – Welcome & Introduction | Charlie Winkworth-Smith, KTN
  • 09:40 – Setting the scene | UK National Security Representative
  • 09:55 – Cybersecurity for human augmentation technologies – current state of the technology and future challenges | UK National Security Representative
  • 10:15 – Q1: What opportunities and threats could human augmentation technologies have on personal and national security? | UK National Security Representative
  • 10:30 – Breakout Room Discussion Session
  • 11:20 – Q2: In what areas of Human Augmentation might the UK have a global advantage or a National Security interest which we should maintain and grow? | UK National Security Representative
  • 11:35 – Breakout Room Discussion Session
  • 12:05 – Q3: How do we ensure human augmentation technologies have a positive impact on society? What are the key ethical principles that will ensure human augmentation technologies are used equitably and safely? | Jack Pilkington, Royal Society
  • 12:20 – Breakout Room Discussion Session
  • 12:50 – Final Thoughts & Close

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