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Source: State University Higher School of Economics – State University “Higher School of Economics” –

The modern world provides many opportunities for personal development and self-improvement, including through improving the quality of education, working conditions, and the use of digital technologies. The success of a modern person is largely determined by the ability to independently use these tools. However, people are not always aware of the existence of such opportunities and are not always motivated to use them.

Strategic project team “Success and human independence in a changing world“(implemented within the framework of the program “Priority-2030“) conducted a study of the available tools and the attitude of the adult population towards human strengthening technologies. The scientists presented the results of their research at the seminar “How to become successful in a rapidly changing world and maintain well-being: a review of modern solutions.”

Human Strengthening Technologies

As shown study, more than 50% of the population has a positive attitude towards technological progress, 33.6% experience positive emotions in connection with the development of strengthening technologies.

“It was very important for us to collect an empirical base that would answer three basic questions: what technologies appear in areas of human life, what is the scale of use of different types of technologies, what are the subjective assessments of the reasons for using or not using these technologies and the resulting effect,” emphasizes the director Institute of Education, Senior Researcher International Laboratory for Assessment of Practices and Innovations in Education, and about. scientific director of the strategic project Evgeny Terentyev.

The empirical study included two rounds of surveys of urban adults selected on the basis of a representative sample: the first to assess the extent of awareness of technologies and their use by different categories of the population, the second to identify the risks of existing tools and barriers to their use.

The first stage took place in the fall of 2023: semi-structured interviews were conducted with respondents using tablets. Four areas for analysis were selected: physical health, mental health, education and labor market, social connections and technologies that contribute to enhancing the development of social capital. The second stage took place through an online survey.

Its goal was to highlight the risks and barriers to using opportunities for personal improvement. In both samples, 45% of respondents were men, 55% were women.

Elena Selezneva, photo: Daniil Prokofiev / Higher School of Economics

Speaking about research into perceptions of human enhancement technologies, Senior Research Fellow Center for Integrated Social Policy Research Institute of Social Policy National Research University Higher School of Economics Elena Selezneva notes: “Our part of the work was to analyze the general attitude of the population towards technology, and also to see how different groups of people’s views on different technologies are. The first thing to note is that we got quite positive results.”

Three groups of technologies were identified for analysis: expanding capabilities (enhancing vision, hearing, physical strength, cognitive abilities), getting rid of problems (correction of emotional state, genetic defects), prolonging life (developments of biogerontology).

Here are some findings from the study:

— women are more inspired by technologies that solve human problems and deficits;

— young people are more interested in expanding opportunities, and the older generation is more interested in prolonging life;

— citizens with higher levels of education and income show greater interest in technology.

The reasons for negative assessments of strengthening technologies among some groups are emotional fears, as well as a lack of information and, as a consequence, fears due to the lack of knowledge of technologies.

Physical and mental health

One of the aspects of the study concerned the population’s attitude towards technologies for supporting and strengthening physical health. Associate Professor, Department of Electronic Engineering Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics named after. A.N. Tikhonova National Research University Higher School of Economics Ilya Ivanov emphasizes: “We tried to consider the tools that, on the one hand, are already widespread, and on the other hand, have interesting new products and devices.”

During the first wave of the survey, respondents identified popular gadgets related to measuring heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, as well as even more modern smart things – clothes and shoes with sensors of biological parameters, bionic prostheses, exoskeletons.

The set of the second wave of surveys generalized some of the technologies from the previous survey, while adding new devices designed to assess the psycho-emotional state and self-monitoring of vision. In terms of prevalence, the first group emerged as the leader.

As the study showed, devices for measuring blood pressure and heartbeat are used everywhere. At the same time, gadgets designed to measure physical activity (walking and running parameters) mainly attract the younger generation and people leading an active lifestyle.

Participants in the online survey paid special attention to assessing their psycho-emotional state. Relevant technologies arouse more interest among people due to their novelty.

Photo: Daniil Prokofiev / Higher School of Economics

Supervisor Department of Psychology Faculty of Social Sciences National Research University Higher School of Economics Maria Chumakova presented such an aspect of the study as “Technologies for supporting and strengthening the psychological well-being of the individual.” This includes four groups of tools to support mental health and self-development:

— psychological courses, consultations, business trainings;

— motivational trainings, marathons;

— online solutions for psychological assistance and training;

— pharmacology for the regulation of the psyche.

“If we talk about awareness, the result turned out to be quite interesting: more than half of the respondents either heard about strengthening technologies or know about them in detail. This suggests that today there has already been a fairly wide dissemination of information in general that psychological health can and is useful to maintain,” the expert emphasizes.

The researchers also found that women have more experience using technologies to support individual psychological well-being compared to men, and among men, those who are not familiar with these technologies are more likely to be found. This effect is especially pronounced when taking pharmacological drugs aimed at regulating mental activity.

It is interesting that non-pharmacological technologies to support psychological health are more often used by younger respondents, and pharmacological drugs – by older respondents. People aged 18–29 years are highly informed about the possibility of using drugs, but have the least experience with their use. Perhaps this is due to the development of a global trend towards abandoning exclusively pharmacological regulation of mental activity, about which young people are more aware, the researchers suggest.

Educational technology

The results of the research in the direction of “Educational technologies for personal improvement” were presented by the director Center for Sociology of Higher Education Institute of Education National Research University Higher School of Economics Ivan Gruzdev.

Most often, survey participants use online platforms for the education of children, less often – commercial platforms with online courses, although the latter are the most famous digital solution for education and self-development.

Ivan Gruzdev (right), photo: Daniil Prokofiev / Higher School of Economics

Only 13.4% of respondents use platforms with online courses from commercial manufacturers, and 38.3% have not heard of them at all.

Online courses from universities are inferior in frequency of use to private platforms (11.3 vs. 13.4%), while more people know about them than about commercial educational projects. Thus, it is both the most famous online solution and the least used.

In general, experts note that the prevalence of digital platforms is higher:

– in big cities compared to small towns;

— among educated respondents;

— among younger age cohorts.

In this sense, general measures are required to reduce the digital divide, which would be aimed at increasing the availability of online solutions in education. It is also important to increase citizens’ awareness of the availability of such solutions, the researchers emphasize.

Strengthening social connections

The fourth important aspect of the study is “Technologies for supporting and strengthening social connections.” Senior Researcher Center for Stratification Research Institute of Social Policy Vasily Anikin I highlighted four important aspects here:

– social media;

— networking/self-education;

— volunteering/dating;

— planning/crowdsourcing.

According to Anikin, the study allowed us to draw the following conclusions.

— Respondents of the older generation (35–44 / 45–54 years old) are more satisfied with Russian platforms: 85% of respondents in this age category rated them positively. Young people prefer foreign analogues (84% of respondents aged 18–24 stated this).

— Volunteering practices are not very widespread among Russians: only 9% of respondents say they participate in them. At the same time, more than a quarter (25.8%) of young people are involved in volunteering.

— Russians are not very active users of services and resource planning tools, which include working with calendars, task schedulers (used by 14.3% of respondents), as well as crowdsourcing projects (used by only 6%).

Yulia Koreshnikova, photo: Daniil Prokofiev / Higher School of Economics

“With an increase in the level of agency (a person’s ability to act, readiness to act as an independent agent and make an informed and free choice. – Ed.), the positive attitude of the population in relation to the perception of technology increases,” notes senior researcher at the Institute of Education, administrative head of the strategic project Yulia Koreshnikova.

The study found that women (52%) take initiative in one or more areas more than men (48%). At the same time, men begin to show initiative earlier, at the age of 25–34 years, while in women the corresponding activity appears at 35–44 years. It is also typical for enterprising men to have five or more people in the family, only if the man does not live alone. The percentage of enterprising women increases as the number of family members increases to 4 people, and then decreases.

Pavel Sorokin, photo: Daniil Prokofiev / Higher School of Economics

“Technology has always changed the social structure, changed the way the economy works, how people interact with each other. Technologies are needed not only to make people healthier, but for what is needed in the current crisis,” emphasizes the leading researcher Laboratories for Human Potential Research and Adult Education Center for Skills Development and Professional Education, Institute of Education, National Research University Higher School of Economics Pavel Sorokin.

Among the results of the study, he highlighted the following.

— Individuals who use both Russian and foreign social networks are the most active in volunteering and non-profit organizations.

— Modern social networks include algorithms that tell people where that friend is, where that partner is, that team you work with, and what you can do together.

— Work time accounting and planning trackers are most in demand among people who need self-organization, for example among entrepreneurs.

— Technologies for business are needed by those who need technological support for organizing their work: placing a person in a technological environment that provides opportunities leads to people acting more efficiently in it.

— Persons with higher education and those whose parents have higher education are more active than others, quickly become familiar with strengthening tools and use them.

Based on the data obtained during the study, a pool of recommendations was formed to encourage the population to use technology, and recommendations were also prepared for the development of the Russian market for human strengthening tools, including identifying the most promising niches for new developments.

More information about the study data and recommendations can be found at project website.

Look videoabout the seminar.

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Please note; This information is raw content directly from the information source. It is accurate to what the source is stating and does not reflect the position of MIL-OSI or its clients.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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