The Study of Human Augmentation.

Human Augmentation is the interdisciplinary study of motivations, ideologies, history, theoretical foundations, methods, and implications of augmenting the human condition via technology. The concentration integrates fields of symbolic systems – computer science, philosophy, psychology / neurobiology, and linguistics – and fields of engineering – mechanical, electrical, and biological engineering – to provide both the theoretical foundations and the technical skill sets necessary for critical examination and engineering of the human condition. The academic coursework of the concentration is complemented by intensive research, engineering, and creative projects that draw from and in turn inform the theoretical content of the program.

Areas of Study

Artificial & Cyborg Minds
Cognitive Augmentation & Human-Computer Interfaces

Exploring the complex relationship between biological and digital intelligences in the age of increasingly sophisticated artificial systems, examining interfaces as facilitators of human-computer collaboration, collective intelligence, and convergence.
Transhuman Forms
Physical Augmentation & Body-Machine Interfaces

Exploring the complex systems of the body and external interfaces, examining the mechanisms and dynamics of extending, enhancing, or otherwise altering physical properties of the human experience, through bionics, wearable technologies, and other hardware interfaces.
Worlds of Imagination
Environmental Augmentation & Mixed Realities

Exploring the human experience of the spectrum between reality and unreality in the era of immersive virtual, augmented, and mixed worlds, examining the relationship between humans and their external artificial and natural environments.


Intellectually, the Human Augmentation program is grounded in deep-rooted questions about what it means to be human and what humanity’s future will look like. Is there anything special about being human, or are we just one step in the evolution of species toward higher intelligences? Is suffering and imperfection essential to the human experience, or would utopia involve Brave New World-esque perfect happiness? To what extent should we augment our perception, decision-making, and emotion? Should life itself be engineered? Can we play god?

Bringing urgency to this intellectual pursuit is the societal significance and exigence of work in this area. With the rapid advancement of technologies that increasingly permeate every part of our lives – from biosensors tracking detailed signals from our bodies, to artificial intelligence analyzing our every preference – there emerges an exigence to carefully and intensively consider, discuss, and strategize about the best way to move into the future ensuring the longevity of humanity. While all technologies have some impact on the human experience, a special focus needs to be given to technologies designed specifically to augment our bodies, minds, and experiences. Like all technological pursuits, human augmentation has both great potential for improving the human condition and terrible potential for destruction. Yet academic fields are fragmented across disciplines – often work in engineering append policy and ethics as afterthoughts, and values discovered in the humanities struggle to propagate into real-world technologies due to lack of technical expertise. 

The Human Augmentation program provides a coherent, interdisciplinary liberal arts foundation for thinking about these questions, along with engineering skills and experiences to enable students to connect their ideas with reality. From ideologies and ethics, to mechanisms and techniques, to implications and challenges, we explore the history, present, and future of augmenting the human condition and humanity at large.


Year #1

Systems for Computational Science (CS 107/207)

Economics & Computation (CS136)

Solving & Optimizing (APMTH 22A)

Language: The Origins of Meaning (FRSEMR 61Q)

Biological & Artificial Intelligence (NEURO 140/240)

Creative Machine Learning (MIT 4.453)

Virtualizing the Human Body (MIT 2.S972)

Sleep & Dreams Engineering (MIT MAS.S63)

Journeys of Self-Discovery (EXPOS 20)

Year #2

Research Topics in Human-Computer Interaction (CS 279R)

Microelectromechanical Systems (ENG-SCI 176/276)

Neurobiology of Perception & Decision Making (MCB 145) 

Systems & Control (ENG-SCI 155) 

Human 2.0 (MIT MAS.600)

Methodologies in Design Engineering (ENG-SCI 298DR)

How to Grow Almost Anything (MIT MAS.S65)

Human Evolution and Human Health (GENED 1027)
Year #3

Junior Tutorial - Transhuman Forms

Bio-Inspired Robotics (MIT 2.74)

Enactive Design: Creative Applications through

Concurrent Human-Machine Interaction (SCI 6365) 

Science Fiction (ENGLISH 182) 

Junior Tutorial - Worlds of Imagination (SPC-CONC 98)

Creativity (GENED 1067)

City Sci-fi (MIT MAS.S64)

Introduction to Bioelectronics (BE 129)
Year #4

Senior Thesis Tutorial

Contemporary Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Problems (GENED 1011)

Neuroaesthetics (MBB 980N)

Tech Science: From Democracy to Technocracy and Back (GOV 1433)

Senior Thesis Tutorial

Research in Human Biomechanics and Physiology (HEB 1210)

Evolving Morality: From Primordial Soup to Superintelligent Machines (GENED 1046)

Topics in Theoretical Computer Science: Biology and Complexity (CS 229R)