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LONDON (Reuters) - Nearly two thirds of people in leading Western European countries would consider augmenting the human body with technology to improve their lives, mostly to improve health, according to research commissioned by Kaspersky.

As humanity journeys further into a technological revolution that its leaders say will change every aspect of our lives, opportunities abound to transform the ways our bodies operate from guarding against cancer to turbo-charging the brain.

The Opinium Research survey of 14,500 people in 16 countries including Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain showed that 63% of people would consider augmenting their bodies to improve them, though the results varied across Europe.

In Britain, France and Switzerland, support for augmentation was low - at just 25%, 32% and 36% respectively - while in Portugal and Spain it was much higher - at 60% in both.

"Human augmentation is one of the most significant technology trends today," said Marco Preuss, European director of global research and analysis at Kaspersky, a Moscow-based cybersecurity firm.

"Augmentation enthusiasts are already testing the limits of what's possible, but we need commonly agreed standards to ensure augmentation reaches its full potential while minimising the risks," Preuss said.

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's neuroscience startup Neuralink last month unveiled a pig named Gertrude that has had a coin-sized computer chip in its brain for two months, showing off an early step toward the goal of curing human diseases with the same type of implant.

The survey found that most people wanted any human augmentation to work for the good of humanity, though there were concerns that it would be dangerous for society and open to exploitation by hackers.

The survey showed the majority of people felt that only the rich would be able to get access to human augmentation technology.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Poll: Plurality Said Supreme Courts Ideological Makeup Is ‘Just About Right’ Prior to RBGs Death

A plurality of Americans believe the Supreme Court’s ideological makeup is “about right,” a Gallup poll conducted prior to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death revealed.

Progressives have launched a series of attacks on Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whom President Trump formally nominated to replace Ginsburg. From her faith to originalist view of the Constitution, Democrats fear her addition could give conservatives, at best, a 5-4 majority, given Chief Justice John Roberts’ history of siding with the left on issues regarding Obamacare. At worst, they could be facing a 6-3 majority — a solidly right-leaning court.

According to Gallup, which conducted the survey prior to Ginsburg’s death, a plurality of Americans believed the court was, at the time of the survey, well-balanced.

Gallup asked respondents, “In general, do you think the current Supreme Court is too liberal, too conservative or just about right?”

Forty-two percent of national adults said the court was “about right,” followed by 32 percent who said it was “too conservative” and 23 percent who said it was “too liberal.”

Similarly, a plurality of Republicans, 48 percent, said the court was well-balanced, although 44 percent chose “too liberal,” and three percent said “too conservative.”

A majority, or 58 percent, of Democrats considered the high court too conservative, and 28 percent believed it was “about right.”

Independents did not veer far from the national view. Like Republicans, 48 percent said the court was well-balanced. Nearly one-third, or 32 percent, said it was “too conservative,” and 16 percent believed it was “too liberal.”

The survey, taken August 31 to September 13 among 1,019 adults, has a margin of error of +/- four percent.

“Over time, Americans have shifted between being more likely to say the Supreme Court is too conservative and more likely to say it is too liberal — though, all the while, they have consistently been most likely to say the court’s makeup is about right,” Gallup reported.

Barrett’s confirmation hearings will likely begin October 12 and could reach the Senate floor by October 26, according to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

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