Cyberpunk Worldbuilding - Technology: Human Augmentation
Ever since the momentous technological breakthroughs in the 2050’s that gave people with prosthetic limbs artificial sensory perception, the human augmentation market exploded, and never slowed. If the world had remained politically stable, with science and technology fiercely regulated, there would surely have been decades-long debates as to the ethics of human augmentation. But, for better or for worse, the anarchic era that followed the dissolution of half of the first world was a veritable breeding ground for technologic experimentation without legal ramifications.
Among the hundreds of unregulated, still-developing technologies are: genetic manipulation, artificial organ and tissue development, synthetic limbs, neuromanipulative implants, and medical nanomachines (essential for curing cancers, which are common, inconvenient diseases). There are always rumors of the very wealthy possessing technology so advanced that it would seem like magic to the average person. Of these, immortality is a popularly rumored tech breakthrough, although so far it has not been verified by any reliable sources.
The age of the internet service provider has long since passed; nearly everyone, from a young age, has had mods installed into their peripheral nervous system (collectively called ‘builds’) that allow them to access the net - which is now less of a network than a mesh, installed in and rebroadcasted by redundant human nodes around the entire planet. Most people also install plugs in their body that provide an override of signals to the visual cortex, auditory cortex, and the parietal lobe, for a temporary method of experiencing virtual reality. A small fraction of the general population opts to reject physical reality entirely, and install permanent neuromods that allow them to receive all of their sensory perception from the net.
Genetic modification is expensive, but subject to heavy experimentation by those wealthy enough to afford it. Whereas the mark of a low-class street kid is heavy tech augs, the mark of the extravagant high-class is genetic deviation from the human norm. The very rich (and usually, very young) are often seen with exotic (or transparent) skin color, oddly-sized features, altered limb proportions, and several animalistic modifications such as (non-functional) wings, coats of fur, or tails. The wealthy also habitually grow and replace their organs for extensive longevity. (However, they have not been able to effectively rejuvenate all aspects of the human body. The main cause of death among the wealthy is brain decay.)