In the books, The God Drug and The God Virus, I envision posthumans with the ability to subconsciously re-engineer themselves. There is nothing new in re-engineering who we are. The transhuman movement describe many possible options for modifications of humans through advances in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science.
In my case the seed to this thought was a bit different. I read an article about Human engineering, specifically the idea of creating a human being with less impact on the environment as a response to climate change. Check it out here.
It is a quite amusing read and reminds me – to an extent – of Jonathan’s Swift’s A Modest Proposal, where he suggests that the poor Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. The writers of the paper are maybe not as deadpan as Dr Swift, but the aim is similar. Humans are notoriously bad for the environment, so their suggested changes includes:
Intolerance to meat
Making people smaller
Pharmacological enhancement of altruism and empathy (drug people to be nicer basically)
Obviously the changes changes described in my book is different than the climate change proposal, because they are responding to something different, but it gave me the idea. What would your really smart brain get up to if it could? How can the human body be changed internally to become better?
“As I studied the different layers of the body, I found adjustments everywhere. My metabolism had changed. I was now a hybrid with an organ specifically designed to store energy to feed my ever-increasing mind. Instead of allowing high-energy food such as sugars to flood my system, it stored them like a battery and released them as needed. I had already seen the difference in analytic and critical thinking. The brain is an amazing organ, but to deal with the constant barrage of data and make sense of it, it filters, fills in the blanks and makes assumptions. My brain no longer did this. Instead, it processed all information, made all the necessary connections and fed the result into the probability matrix. The most surprising changes I found were in the building blocks of who I was. A completely new process was reprogramming my genome using designed viruses as the tool. A new organ created viruses and released them into the body. It changed the cell by infecting it, reprogramming all the cells in my body continuously. It was correcting deficiencies in my DNA. To my disappointment the endocrine system remained intact. Hormones were still coursing through me, manipulating my every move. At least the analytical mind was now better equipped to keep this somewhat in check, cancelling out some of the unnecessary base responses.” Adrian – posthuman (excerpt from The God Drug)
This was originally published as a Quora article here: https://posthuman.quora.com/Human-Re-engineering-Building-a-better-human