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I'm curious as to what would be the most scientifically accurate way in which to turn ordinary people into superhuman beings that one would refer to as "superheroes" or "supervillains."

A few notes

  • "Superhuman" in this case meaning someone obviously more capable than an unaltered person could achieve through extreme physical/mental exercise, or possessing abilities unavailable to unaltered people
  • Additional consideration will be given as the complexity of the power increases. Unaided flight is better than a guy in a strength-enhancing exosuit, for example

Please stick to current scientific knowledge and technology that could reasonably be invented in the next decade or two.

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closed as too broad by Aify, Mołot, John Dallman, Hohmannfan, Zxyrra Dec 4 '16 at 23:23

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ hard-science Asks for equations, scientific papers, and / or citations. I'm not sure if people will be able to answer "how do you make a superhero" with consistent, non-opinion based math, or any citations. Consider science-based instead. Additionally "could reasonably be invented in the next decade or two" may take it out of the 100% hard range. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Dec 4 '16 at 4:13
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    $\begingroup$ I would recommend you look up Cybernetic and genetic enhancements and transhumanism to get some answers $\endgroup$ – Bryan McClure Dec 4 '16 at 5:25
  • $\begingroup$ Like surviving a lethal dose of gamma ray and the only condolence is a pair of pant made of "unstable molecules"... $\endgroup$ – user6760 Dec 4 '16 at 5:31
  • $\begingroup$ How many generations of directed breeding does this question allow? The tech is there already for some improvements, but eugenics takes time and authoritarian control. $\endgroup$ – SRM Dec 4 '16 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with Bryan McClure. Arthur C. Clark said "any sufficiently advanced tech is not distinguishable from magic", or in this case, from superpowers. Transhumanism or other sufficiently advanced tech would look like superpowers to anyone not familiar to it. We talk to people across the world, fly in airplanes (or flying suits), and other things that earlier times would consider superhuman. $\endgroup$ – Mark Ripley Dec 4 '16 at 8:30
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Genetic engineered super mice have already been produced. These mice are faster, stronger, more long-lived, and have better endurance than ordinary mice. Sometimes you can make a significant change in an organism by simply removing a particular protein that limits their capabilities. However, for every enhancement you give a living organism, there is likely a drawback - typically related to energy requirements. Super mice need more food than ordinary mice. (They also happen to be more aggressive.)

It is not impossible to produce human "supermen" through similar genetic engineering, but be warned - there is probably a good reason why evolution did not favor humans with these qualities to begin with. Stronger does not always mean better.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good catch - Lighter (easier to transport), stronger, and more aggressive might well make better soldiers. I wonder and fear how it would look when applied to humans. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Dec 4 '16 at 11:37
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    $\begingroup$ Evolution selects for reproductive success, which depends on being able to reproduce and helping your offspring to be fit to reproduce as well. Artifically created super soldiers would not have to worry about producing offspring or keeping them healthy and protected while growing up. They would probably have their food and all other needs being taken care of by the government or organization that mde them, so it doesn't matter whether they could successfully survive "in the wild" on their own. $\endgroup$ – Yora Dec 4 '16 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ maybe create super soldier clones embed with a programmable virus, so when they gone rogue we'll just have to switch them off. $\endgroup$ – Hariz Rizki Dec 4 '16 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ This is creative but the OP asks how to change an already ordinary human - presumably not by editing an embryo before birth. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Dec 4 '16 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Mołot - Increased aggression in solders is not necessarily a good thing, since increased aggression often implies higher mortality rates, and a dead soldier is not, in the long run, of much use to his unit. There is a very good reason the Medals of Honor (the highest US award for valor) are often awarded posthumously. Japanese banzai charges were appallingly brave actions, but generally a waste of good solders. British soldiers at Paschendale and the Somme were overwhelmingly brave - and dead with no results to show for it. $\endgroup$ – WhatRoughBeast Dec 4 '16 at 15:01

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