The human soul can now be uploaded into alternate biological bodies. These bodies are grown in utero in artifical wombs from human cells and grown to full adult form within a few years. These grown bodies, called shells, have no soul as they were not created naturally, and can therefore be interchanged in the way humans can change clothes. Corporations have turned this into a profitable industry, in which individuals can exchange one body for another to their hearts content. These humanoid forms can be made to order with various enhancements, such as increased strength, resistance to disease, or various skin colors. Companies even have special events where "limited edition" bodies can be bought and sold, built with certain specifications to commemorate an event or with rare enhancements meant to promote the company. This entire industry has given rise to the phrase " Host in the shell ", in which an individual soul (host) inhabits these shells and can replace them at will.

However, all is not well for the corporations in this brave new world, as criminals have latched onto this industry like a pack of vultures. Advances have allowed cloning of these humanoid forms, allowing the underworld to steal valuable technology and sold on the black market. People can be even murdered, with their paid for shells being sold at a cheaply to customers who cannot afford the retail price. Even though corporations have copyrighted the genetic enhancements and have gene-locked them to prevent copies, criminals have found ways to bypass these defenses. Growing shells from scratch to be sold to clientele is an expensive business with very high margins. It is also a time consuming process which can take 2 - 7 years depending on the kind and number of modifications.

In an effort to combat this, some corporations have begun to build planned obsolescence into their products. The shells break down after a period of time, causing the wearer to either go back to the company for biological repairs or replace the shell entirely. The mods are built in a way where they can only be replaced by the parent company, and the shell will ultimately have to be replaced when it is no longer able to be repaired. If these steps aren't taken, the shells begin to break down, with the user suffering more consequences as time goes on. This occurs regardless of how the individual takes care of it. These consequences can be very unpleasant, with the person suffering painful and debilitating side effects.

While these steps may battle the underworld, this has caused significant blowback from customers. Any idiot can see through this as a way for greedy corporations to increase profits and their bottom line at the expense of their clientele. Constant Body swapping is very expensive for the consumer, with only the fabulously rich able to afford the costs of repairing and replacing on the regular. This is regarded as another system of oppression on the hardworking common man and an endorsement of the establishment only caring about the 1% who don't even pay their fair share in taxes. The blowback has led to people remaining in their own natural bodies and not taking part in the industry all together, which will eventually lead to a decrease in profits.

How can companies prevent this from happening?

  • $\begingroup$ Ummmm.... Look at booster shots today. $\endgroup$
    – ShadoCat
    Sep 16, 2021 at 23:51
  • $\begingroup$ If the process is fantastically expensive and most people can't afford new bodies, then those people trying to boycott the corporations isn't really going to have an impact. You can't boycott a product you weren't going to buy in the first place! $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Sep 17, 2021 at 1:07
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @ShadoCat are you talking about vaccines? Booster shots aren't planned obsolescence. They're to update the immune system to new strains and make sure the body is in tiptop condition response-wise. $\endgroup$
    – Henry Shao
    Sep 17, 2021 at 15:37

4 Answers 4


By cutting costs and increasing convenience.

Your current system has bodies created years in advance, and each body uniquely encoded with gene locks. This is a tremendous inconvenience and a serious hassle for both corporation and customer. Just imagine if you had to pick the colors and apps on your smartphone years in advance.

Each shell is a unique product that needs to have it's own devteam, because the cartilage development gene for the cat ears might interfere with the wear resistance gene in the knees and cause a whole mess.

And, if you're a customer, you have to be content and hope that said devteam guessed the trends correctly several years ago, because if they didn't and you really want a catgirl with blue eyes but all they have is brown, you are out of luck.

So, what if we imagine a new paradigm. Instead of creating whole shells, we create pieces. A catgirl is a chimera, created by taking a standard humanoid body and surgically attaching a seperatly grown tail and set of ears.

This way, flexibility is increased (want blue eyes instead of brown, just scoop and replace) and costs are supressed (you have a limited number of parts that can be mass produced).

It allows the corporation to undercut criminals in both cost and convenience, and those who want a fully grown body can just custom-order one at a premium.

Of course, the new chimera's might have some trouble with wound regeneration, aging and the immune system attacking grafted tissue, but that's what new shells are for.


The same way they do with everything else: the companies run ad campaigns to manipulate the consumer base without them realizing it. This can vary slightly depending on the exact circumstances of the industry before the change, such as the lifespan of already-existing shells and consumer familiarity with the product but the general objective of the ads is the same: help consumers rationalize the changes without thinking too hard about what they're losing. Pair the newly accelerated deterioration with some powerful new features that could plausibly cause or require the shells to have a reduced lifespan, features so essential that the trade-off becomes the dominant option. Sell the new shells as advanced products in themselves that require fine tuning and maintenance in order to maintain their advantage over the old reliable shells. Maybe a new corpse suspension liquid can grow shells faster and with less cost than traditional artificial wombs, allowing for mass production at the expense of quality. Given the lucrative nature of the industry companies should have no problem developing appealing innovations to package together with drawbacks and additional fees.


New features!

Why does planned obsolescence exist in the first place? Because manufacturers realized they were wasting money engineering things to last longer than people actually wanted them to last. The general public loves new things, preferably newer and better than everybody else. (On the other hand, enterprise customers don't care, and they still make servers the same way they did 20 years ago. Something to consider if your biotech corporations have an industrial division.)

So if you want your people to be on board with hopping to new bodies every few years, give them something to be excited about. Dragging your five-year-old genemodded arm into the shop because it's breaking down feels bad. Dropping into the clinic to get the new iArm 17 with double thumbs and extendible elbows feels great, even if the iArm 16 you have is only a few years old and still works fine.

What happens to the old organs after they get dropped off? Well... maybe it's better that the customer doesn't know that.


You are essentially changing from a purchase model to a lease model, and it should be priced and marketed that way—not as new purchases every few years.

Talk up how this is more affordable for customers, and if you do a comparison on the total lifetime costs, assume people replacing their shells more often than they have to date.

This is essentially how the mobile phone industry has convinced many consumers they can afford a new \$1000 iPhone (always have the best!) every two years (only \$50 per month!) rather than buy a \$500 phone (that’s a huge investment!) and keep it for five years (so old and out of date!).


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