Conditions of Moral and Functional Acceptance of Human Enhancement Technologies: Consumer Experience of Augmented Reality

Stéphanie Gauttier

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research external, graduation external


This dissertation aims to illustrate the moral and functional conditions of acceptance of human enhancement technologies, in particular of Augmented Reality (AR) as a cognitive enhancement tool for consumers. This thesis starts with an analysis of philosophical underpinnings and societal issues linked with human enhancement technologies. This allows the identification of risks, uncertainties and threats inherent with enhancement technologies. Then, the concept of enhancement is discussed in relation to consumers and a research agenda about the use of AR to enhance consumers is drawn. A phenomenological approach is adopted. Several empirical studies are presented.
Firstly, a Q-study capturing the points of view of potential users through four European countries is described. Secondly, the results of another Q-study comparing the perspectives on AR and other consumer mobile services of a heavy user, an occasional user, and a non-user of mobile internet are presented. Thirdly, phenomenological interviews following the experience of AR of three individuals are analysed. The phenomenon of intersubjectivity is accounted for through an additional Q-study. The results highlight that technology acceptance is a contextual phenomenon driven by the functionality of the technology, while moral considerations play no significant role. Propensity to use AR is driven by the ability of technology to overcome constraints linked to shopping in comparison to other technologies, but also its ability to provide users with information about products that complements their prior knowledge. Acceptance of AR as an enhancing technology is rooted in the creation of a satisfactory embodied, hermeneutic, and pragmatic relationship between users, the technology, and the products.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Universite de Nantes
Award date6 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Technology Acceptance
  • Human Enhancement
  • umer Experience of Technology
  • Phenomenology
  • Q-method
  • Augmented Reality

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