Evolution is a great system for incremental refinements, but it's not very good at drastic changes, and can leave behind a lot of inconvenient vestigial elements. It's also rubbish at dealing with changes on the short scale (such as hairless apes going and building an agricultural society).

But let's say we had a wizard (or a sufficiently advanced technologist). Looking at present-day society, the wizard is pretty happy with how things are going, but wants to file off the rough edges. He has decided to go straight to the source and redo a human being from the inside in order to make a creature that can live more comfortably in the conditions of today. While the wizard can set up whatever he wants inside the body, the result must be biologically feasible - capable of living, reproducing, and so on without magic. The wizard will create a few thousand such beings.

The wizard might look at factors like:

  • Viability later in life. For obvious reasons, natural selection does not care much about what happens to an individual past breeding age, but in our society such individuals still hang around, and the physical and mental decay that occurs in old age might be somehow avoided.
  • Food consumption. Prehistorically, gorging yourself in times of plenty helped survive in times of hunger. In a society where nutrition is plentiful, the body's aggressive desire to stockpile fats and carbohydrates is detrimental to society.
  • Physical size. Being large and in charge was a very useful trait up until airlines started cutting down the size of seats. In a society where warfare is done by machines rather than muscles and lots of people are crowded together in cities, a smaller humanoid might be at an advantage.
  • Temperature control. Sweating is really not a great way of getting cool when you're trying to coexist alongside crowds of people in close proximity. Would it be preferable to become reptile-like and not feel hot or cold at all?
  • Senses. On the streets of New York, the sense of smell is more detrimental than anything, but walk through the door of a restaurant and suddenly you're glad to have it. Is there a way to take away the bad but keep the good?

The wizard could probably use his fiat powers to improve human society to better fit the human, but let's assume that Reed Richards is useless and the wizard is too much of a mad scientist to do things the boring, political way.

What does the ideal humanoid for the 21st century - or something close to it - look like?

Edited in response to answers: The wizard does not want to make society a kinder, gentler place to live. He likes society. Maybe he is an objectivist, and does not want people to like each other more, or to be less competitive. He just wants a humanoid being who is designed for the needs of a modern metropolis, not the African savannah of yore.

Nor is the wizard intending to replace the human population. Let's say he's making only one thousand of these humanoids, and seeding them all over the world to lead ordinary lives (as a test run, as spies, on a lark, etc).

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    $\begingroup$ Sweating is actually an extremely good way of cooling a large body, especially if you've already lost most of your body hair and you happen to have plenty of fresh water. The downsides are almost entirely social. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 19:27
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    $\begingroup$ "become reptile-like and not care about hot or cold" -- reptiles care a great deal about hot and cold. We're the ones who (comparatively speaking) don't care because we maintain our own temperature. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 19:49
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    $\begingroup$ Not at all. Reptiles can not regulate their body heat like we do, so they are ENTIRELY dependent on the air around them being hot or cold. Imagine running a fever every time the temperature exceeded 90 Fahrenheit, and being unable to move if it dropped below 60. That's more like what a reptile is like. $\endgroup$
    – Ethan
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 20:26
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    $\begingroup$ This is a pretty well-tread scifi theme that never seems to work out well. (I started listing examples, but it got too long for a comment.) Is that maybe your intention? Either way, you seem to be working on the assumption that modern humans are not well suited for urban environments, but I'm not sure why. As a species, we tend to shape our environments to suit us (as do many other species), and thus,we are well adapted to our modern, urban environments, because we shaped them to meet our needs and desires. By contrast, few modern humans would last a week in the African Savannah of yore. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 21:42
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    $\begingroup$ If we're going to be correcting issues that have not otherwise been exposed, yet, to enough evolutionary pressure, may I put in a request for less hair around my butthole? $\endgroup$
    – Eikre
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 22:57

14 Answers 14


OK speaking up on this a bit late, I doubt I'll add much of value but below is my list of improvements to make humans natural capabilities a better fit for modern society.
I will split them into two groups, fixes and improvements


  • Add a fix for the problem of how unhealthy sitting is for us
  • Make the brain hardwired to accurately calculate how much food & what kind we really need (likely tie this in with appetite)
  • Increase the reproductive age in females (and make eggs stay genetically healthy & viable for longer)
  • Increase the bodies ability to recognize the introduction of carcinogens & free radicals in general and counter them more effectively
  • Fix us so people can always see their personal value in the systems of a society (as in, if you sell expensive cars for a living you will appreciate that you couldn't do that without all the other people that make expensive cars possible... and therefore you will not get a big head regarding the amount of money you make vs. those who make your job possible)
  • [New Fix]: Fix the immune system so it can more effectively identify virulent targets and NOT attack healthy cells (autoimmune diseases) or overreact and cause allergic reactions when people are exposed to things that are not actually harmful (peanut butter, pollen, dust...)
  • [reclassification from improvement to a fix]: A decrease in the bodies tendency to produce swelling/inflammation from anything other than truly traumatic injuries that are actually helped by it
  • [new updated fix]: Change the body to better avoid degenerative diseases/problems such as: macular degeneration, hearing loss, degenerative genetic disorders, etc...



  • Increase the already fairly large, range of things we can eat and get valuable nutrition from to include: spoiled food, general flora, things that are now considered mildly poisonous, etc... (this will help people living in squalor in urban areas)
  • Improve our bodies ability to extract healthful amounts of nutrition from the foods we can already eat (though include the range of foods we would be able to eat)

  • Enhance our immune systems to react in such a way to pathogens that getting exposed would be nearly identical to receiving an immunization to said pathogens (this is most likely through speed of reaction to virulent foreign bodies ... )

  • Enhance our immune systems + liver + ______ so our bodies can counteract toxic substances more effectively & quickly (poisons, pollutants, etc...)

  • Make our bodies require less sleep to be healthy

Also, I recommend including the suggestions from most of the other answers here.

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    $\begingroup$ Is there a release schedule? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 12:44
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    $\begingroup$ @SokPomaranczowy You'll receive updates regularly. Be sure to always trust all updates from us, this will allow our updates through your local Biowall. It is essential that you install all "security" updates from us... you can trust us** not to install anything that won't be good for you, including: spyware, malware, viruses, or any negative form of 'enhancement' **(unless, of course, we change our minds) $\endgroup$
    – MER
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ on one hand there is this privacy that everyone is talking about, you could have a backdoor to my brain and so on, and it was on the news and the people there were concerned. On the other hand I have nothing to hide and this bug that causes me to forget what I came for when I enter the room is such a bummer. Guess I will install your patch automatically and come back to EULA later on. Unless I forget. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 8:50
  • $\begingroup$ @SokPomaranczowy Yes our patches are always to be trusted to fix any bugs you may have thought you experienced. We assure you that our marketing department reviews all bugs and backdoors prior to the release of any updates. We want you to know that we care** about you and your experience with the provided enhancements. **(Please feel free to read through pages 821 through 1275 of the preamble to our EULA for details on our meaning for the word care) $\endgroup$
    – MER
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ Funny how several of these expose bugs in our culture, not in our biology. Nuking Wall Street would be a lot more expedient than hacking our genes. $\endgroup$
    – tripleee
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 10:46

Enlarging or increasing the integration of the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex – the prosocial part of the human brain – would reward generosity and empathy and might even eliminate depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. Combined this could make for a happier and more charitable society.

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    $\begingroup$ It's kinda hard to get people to go to work if they're doped up on phuketall everyday. Where do I sign up? ;p $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 23:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Mazura It wouldn't work that way, it's triggered by helping others. $\endgroup$
    – rek
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 23:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Mazura I think what you mean is you don't believe that people help other people to help them but for a reward? If that's the case and you believe in evolution (which I'm assuming you do) then the results are still potentially highly beneficial to society. (Though I wonder if an added negative response for blatantly harming others wouldn't also be valuable, not to the point that self defense would be a problem but to the point that ponzi schemes etc... would feel bad in a similar way to hitting a pedestrian with your car) $\endgroup$
    – MER
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 0:20
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    $\begingroup$ There was an option of making sex enjoyable to stimulate breeding. Condoms were invented. In a similar way, expect invention of some sort of kindness-condom - that makes you feel almost as if you have helped someone but without actual commitment of resources. Facebook likes are going to be a huge deal. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ "Research shows that almost any normal activity we find pleasurable —from hearing great music to seeing a beautiful face—can activate the reward system. When this happens, not only are we stimulated, but these circuits enable our brains to encode and remember the circumstances that led to the pleasure, so that we can repeat the behavior and go back to the reward in the future." (cont.) $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 2:07

We live in cities, this is a problem. Day to day we just couldn't care about the majority of people we're forced to deal with. The one thing that could make the biggest difference to our society is to massively increase Dunbar's Number.

This would mean that people could and would care more about many of the people they dealt with day to day and were capable of caring about far more people than they can at the moment, ideally leading to a decrease in anti-social behaviour and better directed action towards the common good by the average person.

A change to people allowing them to care more about others makes a better society.

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    $\begingroup$ "A change to people allowing them to care more about others makes a better society" - until everybody goes mad from worrying about the personal tragedies of several thousand people. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ Is "madness resistance" a scientifically plausible trait? $\endgroup$
    – SPavel
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 18:54
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    $\begingroup$ "A better society" isn't what the OP is after. However this certainly makes them more "designed for the needs of a modern metropolis". Things like voting for the person promising higher taxes who also provides evidence that these taxes are necessary to fix the holes in the road, for instance (cough cough Detroit cough...) $\endgroup$
    – Graham
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 22:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Graham, I'm regularly a cause of edits in questions, this is one of those cases ;) $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 7:06
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    $\begingroup$ Nice try Jesus. $\endgroup$
    – jorfus
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 15:59

Ursula K. Le Quin's The Lathe of Heaven describes the efforts of just such a wizard. Each night, as George Orr sleeps, his dreams reshape reality. He spends his days being exposed to the problems of the world and during each subsequent night, his dreams strive to address those problems. He awakens the next day to find the results made manifest in the real world. I won't spoil the story by revealing the final, truly effective solution which he dreams up, but I will state that it was perfectly appropriate to the early seventies society for which the story was written.

Today, I believe that the humanity's greatest challenge is not adapting to our changing civilization, but rather, adapting to the results of our changing civilization on the real world. Environmental poisonings, climate change and a corrupt political system are the new darwinistic antagonists.

If you want to wizard up an ideal citizen for the modern world, consider...

The toxin-resistance of the Molly fish, which can swim in highly acidic waters without negative health effects.

The twin respiratory organs of the Walking Fish so that beach side properties can remain populated no matter how high the sea levels rise.

Regenerating razor sharp claws and venomous fangs to make every politician truly respectful of every single person that they represent. When there is no way to disarm the populace, would-be tyrants must fear their followers and detractors.

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    $\begingroup$ The last paragraph salvaged the answer. $\endgroup$
    – Joshua
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 19:40
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    $\begingroup$ "No way to disarm the populace..." Nothing that state sponsored declawing/defanging programs can't fix. Were I a corrupt leader, I'd make sure it happened at birth. $\endgroup$
    – SethWhite
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 21:21
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    $\begingroup$ @SethWhite, I have adjusted my answer to combat your tyranny! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 21:30
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    $\begingroup$ Alternately, a docile and subservient population that wouldn't resist tyranny would probably work better. Predator animals (like wolves or lions, for example) are inherently well-armed, and still fight with other members of their pack/pride/"society" all the same. Ants and bees, on the other hand... not so much. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 22:25
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    $\begingroup$ You can not combat tribalism by making everyone grey though. Lines on the map, sportsball teams, interpretations of sacred stuff would remain. Some brain rewiring would be necessairy to solve the problem. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 18:04

changing our backs to make sitting down less of a strain on our body. This could save people from back pains for the later stages of life. By saving back pains it becomes easier to stay fit and will reduce the medical costs of desk jobs.


Well, you can say what you want about society and stuff, but I'd prefer to focus on improving the life of the individual, given this wizard's powers. Therefore, let's focus on removing some of the worse problems.

  • Cancer = make the body much better at detecting and eliminating cancerous cells
  • Stroke = improve the long-term health of blood vessels, particularly in the brain
  • Alzheimer's = remove whatever causes this disease
  • Diabetes = improve the pancreas
  • Suicide = improve the ability to modulate seratonin, dopamine, etc. levels
  • Heart Disease = same as for strokes, but also improve the ability to remove fat deposits from arteries and veins

Okay, so that gets the biggest lethal stuff out of the way. Now let's focus on quality of life while you're still living.

  • Cystic Fibrosis = fix the CFTR gene
  • Congenital blindness/deafness/muteness/whatever = fix these, too
  • AIDS = give T-cells the ability to properly identify and fight HIV
  • Obesity = change the way hunger works so that people notice that they are full faster, suffer pain if they overeat to extremes, and get more pleasure from eating healthy foods than from eating unhealthy foods. We no longer need the drive to eat fat, salt, and sugar, so it should be safe to remove the incentives or transfer them elsewhere.
  • STD's = make it so people can smell them, but only in super close proximity. As in, you would never know in a business or social situation that somebody had one, but if you were kissing or something you would know 100%
  • Chemical addictions = give an extreme adverse reaction to any strong psycho-active drug (don't worry, we're also curing the main legitimate reasons to use such drugs)
  • Sleep disorders = give humans greater inner perception into their ability to sleep and fix the big genetic factors for insomnia, sleep apnea, etc. As in, let those whose lifestyle screws up their sleep know exactly what is screwing it up, and just fix it for people whose lifestyle isn't the cause.
  • Depression, ADHD, OCD, etc. = already covered, but really improve the ability to regulate the endocrine/exocrine systems
  • Traumatic injury = improve the ability to regenerate limbs, ligaments, etc.
  • Color blindness = fix it
  • Down Syndrome and other chromosomal disorders = improve the reproductive process so that these conditions are less likely

I know that I may have just made a lot of you angry (or at least made a small number of you VERY angry). Let me be clear: I don't believe that people with any of these disorders don't deserve to live anything like that. I do believe that these problems and ailments are things which lower a person's potential usefulness to society, lower their ability to enjoy and perceive the world, and/or place extraordinary burdens on their loved ones. Given the chance to prevent these conditions, I'll take it.

Also, this list isn't exhaustive, and if I've left out some ailment, it's not intended as an insult or dismissal.

To prevent problems from creeping back into our group of modified humans:

  • Make it so that they can smell (similar to STD idea) whether or not another person has any dominant traits for one of these conditions
  • Make them extremely attracted to people who have the fewest of the genetic markers for these conditions.
  • Make this particular gene extremely powerful, dominant, and present in multiple locations (make it really hard to breed this one out.)
  • Give them additional genes that render an embryo with too many of the bad gene markers unviable (incapable of implantation.)

The goal here is to create a society where people mostly just die of old age, don't get mental illness, and live very healthily for most of their lives. I recognize that this would create some weird social dynamics (like where STD people get ostracized like crazy or where people with bad genetics are social pariahs.) Those should be (relatively) short-lived.

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    $\begingroup$ Apparently, from the OP's comments in my answer and the subsequent EDIT in his question, the goal is NOT to make society better. Who'd a thunk it? $\endgroup$
    – Xplodotron
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ The voting certainly seems to support the 'make society better' answers, though. $\endgroup$
    – Jeutnarg
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ I agree completely. In fact, my own answer was trying to show that change upon society in unavoidable. But the OP is now clarifying what he wants. $\endgroup$
    – Xplodotron
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ > curing the main legitimate reasons to use such drugs What about recreational use? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 18:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Jeutnarg - Yeah, no, I agree. Your answer is entirely about improving the individuals' lives. $\endgroup$
    – Xplodotron
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 18:24

I'd be tempted to add comments that have a differing assumption to a couple of your points.

If the scientist wants to improve humanity in general, step one might be to shorten the lifespan until humanity was in equilibrium. This would need to be in conjunction with contraception, and maybe social happiness about death...

Why not combine dumbing down the sense of smell with the whole sweating piece. You want sweating, but either reducing the smell sensitivity or making sweat a pleasant smell could really help in conurbations.

And if we're going down that route, why not work on waste products? Could metabolism be altered to dramatically reduce the amount/smell of human waste?

  • $\begingroup$ With social happiness about death people will off themselves just fine, no need for lifespan tweaks. As for sweat smell, it's not the smell itself, is products of metabolism of bacteria that consume it. Bacteria that consume the same stuff but don't stink are already available online, but people are somewhat inert to adopt those. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 18:08

What's Good is Good

The question asks a lot, so first let me clarify my understanding of the question. The wizard wants to make a better society. But evolution works on individuals. Typically, "successful" individuals spread their traits by reproducing more than their competitors. But the question is about creating individuals who are most "comfortable" in a society, such that the society is "better." "Better" is not defined. Thomas More, Thoreau, Big Brother, and the Unabomber all have different ideas of "better." So, lots going on here.

Killer Bunnies

I know this is not what you are looking for, but at some point, the constituent make up of this society needs to change from what it is now, to include a significant number of these mutant individuals (let's call them "happy folk.") Either a controlling minority, or a plurality, a majority, or the entirety.

In order to do this, the happy folk need to be better at reproducing themselves--whether it be Duggar-style family planning or good ol' fashioned human cloning--or, they need to be better at surviving some situation that reduces the current, non-happy population. Or both: happy folk can multiply like bunnies and also have a "negative" effect on the current population, like say, murdering them.

This is not unheard of. I do not mean to offend, but some (not necessarily me) would say that the population of Israel is undergoing exactly such a change. An indigenous population is rapidly being replaced by another.

What Was Good is Not Good

So you see my problem with this question? By changing individuals to be happy in a society, you wind up changing the society. But I can imagine that somehow you reach an equilibrium where [almost] everyone is happy enough to no longer require further tweaking to fit into society. Although these "static societies" are often portrayed as being fundamentally flawed, that's usually because the protagonist is an outsider. For example, Logan's Run/Brave New World: people are pretty convinced that they're happy (at least so long as you are in society's good graces). Everyone is generally predisposed to accept or like their position in society, coupled with some reinforcing education and fostering. Everyone has fulfilling work and takes recreational drugs and is promiscuous. People have just enough problems to have just enough morals to basically not realize the bubble they're in. Is that what you want? Is that what anybody wants?

Running In Place

The factors listed in the original question are great. When navigating New York's "smellscape," one can easily see how nice it would be to control your own senses. (I think that's why people wear earbuds and dark sunglasses on the subway.)

But every tweak raises potential society-ruining side-effects which might only lead to an "evolutionary war." (The classic example of evolutionary war is: prey develops poison, predator develops immunity. Prey develops stronger poison. That's how you get tiny frogs that can kill an elephant.) For example, let's say that the wizard wanted to make society more cohesive and compassionate and so he made individuals feel a closer sense of "brotherly love." Let's say happy folk identify other happy folk in the same way that animals recognize kin. Well, the obvious side effect can be that they become xenophobic. Or, the logical extreme can be that they become fascist (the thinking is that all happy folk express their true "happiness" by adopting normative behaviors, and that anyone who doesn't act happy is a traitor and a threat to society).

Better How?

So, to return to the spirit of your question: if you want to keep society the way it is now, but tweak some happy folk so that they can thrive in this society, you can make them not care about certain things (like eliminating ennui and existential quandries by making them pure lizard brain) or you can make them overcome their problems (like eliminating ennui by making them super-social and fun loving). But both solutions fundamentally change the society they are adopting to.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm sorry if I was not clear in phrasing the question. The wizard does not want society to be better. Ideally, society will remain exactly the same as it is right now. But he wants to create a humanoid being who will be more comfortable existing in it. They do not need to live in soma-like euphoria, just dread their commute less. $\endgroup$
    – SPavel
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 20:40
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That's cool. My basic answer is that you can't change the individuals in a society without changing the society. So, like, if people were "immune" to bad smells, people would probably not be so careful to hide bad smells, and you get less personal hygiene, less sanitary garbage disposal, foods and scents would change (like durian and surstromming would become popular) etc. $\endgroup$
    – Xplodotron
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ The wizard does not intend to replace anybody. There will still be regular humans. $\endgroup$
    – SPavel
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 21:12

You're kind of answering your own question with that list of things to consider, but here's some other ways to make urban-man more comfortable:

  • Height—although comfortable in airplanes, I think I'd prefer to be slightly taller than the average man, which is difficult to do for everybody, as it is a relative thing. Being a bit taller and fitter means I can enjoy being (relatively) good at sports, attractive for my capability, etc.
  • Acne—I'm not a scientist, but I think a lot of things like this is your body trying to deal with hormones/junk food, so maybe give your human 2.0 an organ that pushes any waste/unneeded thing into a little poop that leaves your body discreetly, instead of pushing oil through skin etc.
  • Weight-management—Currently the body stores fat when there is excess food. New-man can consciously desire to gain/lose weight, and the body will process food accordingly.

And the ultimate:

  • Auto-plastic-surgery—More and more people are paying megabucks to change their face. The ability to grow into whatever your desired facial feature you want would make a lot of people happy (maybe in a superficial way, sure).

This last one raises a lot of interesting questions, such as:

  • Would anyone be ugly, by choice?
  • Would everyone look exactly the same?
  • Would crime be hard to trace?
  • Would, 5 years later, society consider itself "better"? Happier?
  • $\begingroup$ It's trivially easy to make almost everyone slightly taller than the average. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 18:11

In addition to all of the other useful stuff mentioned: Make every woman able to turn off menstruation at will, and make every man able to turn of sperm production at will. This will make every woman happier and more productive, and it prevents unwanted pregnancies and the terrible power plays that come with withholding contraceptives. This will also help with a lot of problems around unwanted pregnancies, such as poverty, dropping out of school, overpopulation and so on.


I would make two changes that would have an immense payoff.

The first change I would make to human biology is to enable the body to know when it has stored enough fat and to excrete excess nutrients rather than store them.

This would solve obesity, and could help greatly with heart disease and diabetes. If I could eat three pounds of bacon and know I will simply breathe it out later and it will not line my arteries or give me a spare tire, I would be a happy, happy man.

The second change would be to alter the DNA splitting mechanism to be more accurate. Many of the effects of aging are due to cumulative errors in DNA splitting over the years. Eventually muscles such as the heart lose strength because the muscle cells are damaged from the start.

These changes will result in a population that is healthier for a longer portion of their lives.

Option B is for the wizard to create a beneficial, sentient, symbiotic race of parasites and infect all humans with them.


Assuming we're talking minor hacks rather than high-end trans-humanism where people become uploads or run their minds in 2 inch tall robots, lets see.

In order of subtly to adapt people better to living in dense cities and having to move to follow work:

Little changes:

Tweak the human brain to make people less distressed from being away from loved ones, even if you have to move across the country away from mom and dad and your old friends knowing that they're healthy and happy and chatting on the phone gives the same kick you'd get from seeing them over dinner.

Tweak the human brain to find small spaces comforting rather than claustrophobic. That little room you're renting now feels cozy rather than like the walls are closing in.

Tweak what people find appetizing and appealing. That salad now smells as appealing as a steak dinner and gives you the same full happy feelings.

Tweak appetite to keep weight in the middle of the healthy category without conscious effort.

Tweak concentration so people can easily consciously choose to drop into a state of concentration on a problem.

Tweak boredom so that you can choose to find boring work easier to deal with.

Tweak tribalism to allow people to cooperate more easily.

Moderate changes:

Change human lungs to a loop like bird lungs. Significant drop in respritory problems and big boost in efficiency of breathing.

enter image description here

Add the ability to Biosynthesize Vitamin C and a few other similar nutrients.

Adjust the female reproductive system to be less unpleasant to the individual.

Adjust human spines and hips to prevent lower back problems. We're still not 100% adapted to walking upright.

Adjust the human eye to remove the blind spot.

Patch in the ability to grow replacement teeth every 20 years or so since modern braces solve the alignment problem.

Patch to prevent us biting the inside or our own cheeks.

Move the Laryngeal Nerve.

Feature to allow humans to make themselves fall asleep regardless of anxiety or stress.

  • $\begingroup$ The laryngeal nerve is a hilarity of [ahem] intelligent design. You think individuals would feel better if they trim that bit of wiring? $\endgroup$
    – Xplodotron
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 14:59

Given how busy our lives are in this modern era, there's a few things that could be done to make the whole thing a little more pleasant for us humans.

Messing with sleep cycles and the circadian rhythm in general would be an excellent start. People are busy and sleep is often something that either gets ignored or put off. Ensuring people can feel well rested after only a few hours of sleep would be an incredible advantage for most of the population. Functionally, you'd be giving them a few more hours in the day.

And speaking of how busy people are, stress hormones and what produces them. Let's mess with those while we're at it. Stress is awful for people and we get stressed out for the dumbest things. Presentations, being late for work due do traffic, a date and more. A way to control or lower stress levels consciously would go a long way towards allowing people to function better in our society.


Make Happiness Selectively Fit

While living comfortably is desirable to us as individuals, it is a terrible trait to select for in the wild. It also does not help to just make people more prone to being happy because the more happy you naturally are, the more someone with power over you can abuse you until you just hit the same equilibrium of just barely happy enough not to rebel. This means you need to make the environment actually reward happiness as a factor of selective fitness, and punish those who allow unhappiness into their societies.

Two ways to do this are to either make it so that your new humans are only able to reproduce if they are happy, comfortable, and relaxed and/or make them die much more easily if they get too stressed or depressed.

How this makes humanity more comfortable:

  • When your humans start killing each other in wars, grief, stress, fear, and depression will wipe out that entire generation; so, warlike civilizations quickly die off.
  • When an authoritarian regime takes over and makes their own people miserable, they wind up killing off their own population allowing neighboring nations to subvert them through sheer numerical/cultural superiority.
  • When a corporate oligarchy takes over and starts making people work like slaves, they kill off their own workforce, and those industries collapse.
  • When a population becomes ravaged by poverty or scarcity, the struggling lower-class is culled first leaving only the more comfortable middle and upper classes. Most lower class jobs being replaced by technology anyway.
  • When someone is born with a debilitating genetic disorder, it makes them miserable so they are selected against even if the disorder is not necessarily terminal.

Overall, what you have is a world where unjust or unsustainable society will take the place of famine and predation in capping population densities. And the societies that take good care of their own with stable, non-abusive systems of governments will flourish.


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