Slightly jumping off from this lovely meta by @sadnessofthings (seriously, the points about cerebral augs and employer pressure, in particular, are fantastic) and a couple of chats in the Discord:
I’m pretty sure that Jensen would likely have never been augmented without the accident (unless he’d been forced some other way). I also think that on some level, by the time HR starts, he’d been suspicious of Sarif - or at the very least, the way Sarif markets augs - for a good while.
He seems wary as hell of the tech. Or if not the tech, the way society’s responding to it like it’s a fashion accessory rather than a necessity.
Bits of Megan’s dialogue point to that. She says at the start, “Admit it, you like him,” because it seems like Adam’s always grumbling about Sarif.
Adam is bothered by the defence contracts and doesn’t like the Typhoon. Heck, he even mutters about this to Sarif at one point in the game.
Also, Jensen seems very aware of the privacy-infringing potential of the infolink when he eventually has one. He’s very pissed-off if someone just wanders in, and he seems very “these are where I’m drawing my boundaries.” He’d seen them in action working at SI. I cannot imagine him signing up for one unless there’s no other option. I suspect he has Feelings on this, and that’s just “a minor aug”.
I think it’s pretty significant that when so many people at SI get employee perks and Malik mentions Sarif’s pushing “just a coupla augs” and being generous to employees, Adam pointedly isn’t augmented.
And he’s making more than enough money to do it if he wants to. Look at that penthouse and, as said, perks.
And then, when he’s augged-up and being sent on missions, he’ll pull Sarif up on being asked to do anything even mildly illegal (see: breaking into the police station). He also doesn’t seem surprised by the request.
I feel like Jensen’s very ambivalent about aug tech and SI, and I can imagine that question only got harder after he got forced into augs, because he’d be trying to separate his own self-hatred and not project that onto other augs.
It’s interesting that his first mission after getting back from sick leave, when he’s closed-off and clearly still grieving and brushes Malik off when she tries to tell him the augs can be a good thing, is Milwaukee Junction. Jensen’s sent on this mission when he’s in a raw place and still kind of horrified by what’s happened to him, and then there’s the added horror of seeing the hacker controlled through and destroyed by his own augs.
And then… he meets Sanders, a man who tore out all his own augs after becoming addicted to augmentations and then losing control, and views augs purely as a way of someone else controlling you. And if you let Sanders go, I can’t help but wonder if Jensen hesitated because he saw something familiar there. Something he understood.
Actually, without the attack, I could see him being wary of augs post-Incident himself, because being paranoid is kind of what he does. He’s wary of folk professing to be his “brothers and sisters” in MD canon - not least because he didn’t go through the Incident himself and because, as part of Interpol, he’s part of the system oppressing them and seems to be very aware of that - but if he were himself unaugmented, that could get messy. I think he’d be absolutely anti- what the police are doing in Prague or the ghettos either way, though, looking at his history and his thoughts on corruption.
I don’t think he’s prejudiced against augmented people or that he views augmentation as a net bad. He does seem to believe they can help people. I do think he doesn’t always understand them, though, because the field is so new, and that he never wanted them for himself. And that he’s still wary of thinking of himself as part of the aug community, though with some options and choices, he can accept that and start to become more comfortable with it.
Basically, I think at best, Adam would’ve been a late-adopter of augs, even if he saw nothing wrong with them for others.
tl;dr: “I never asked for this.”