I was wondering, if one day in the future it would be possible for humans to evolve (without tech embedded implants) to characters such as Goku, Hulk ,etc. Characters who are far physically superior to us, who can destroy planets, can lift hundreds of thousands of kilograms easily , move faster than the speed sound and possibly close to the speed of light, and are able to think much much faster than we ever could.

When I thought about it, for a human to have such powers, I realized the human must have a tremendous amount of mass. So huge in fact that it would be unreasonable for the human to live on planets, since by just laying a foot on the surface, it would get crushed.

So is there anyway possible for a humans to achieve this and still be able to live "normally", just like in the comic books.


closed as too broad by L.Dutch, F1Krazy, Mołot, Amadeus, Frostfyre Sep 14 '17 at 12:38

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    $\begingroup$ I feel like this is too broad, you should specify exactly what you want your future humans to be capable of. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Sep 14 '17 at 9:57
  • $\begingroup$ Is my edit enough? @F1Krazy $\endgroup$ – Abu Bakr Sep 14 '17 at 10:08
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    $\begingroup$ I removed my opinion based comment in favor of a more constructive one: Randomly and naturally? No, absolutely not. With genetic modifications? Perhaps, if we know what you are talking about. You are asking multiple questions at once btw and assume that everyone has read some comic book you read. Could you specify how Hulk moves close to light speed and in which medium he does that? Could you specify everything else? $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Sep 14 '17 at 10:18
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    $\begingroup$ I will VTC. The answer is no, there is no possible way. Genetics don't work that way; they aren't magical. There will be no "genetic" form of nuclear power, which is what you'd need, there will be no "genetic" form of invulnerability, and no "genetic" form of super-computing or super fast thinking or moving. What you see on Earth is pushing the limits; Human neurons, for example, are close to the theoretical limits of small size and speed. My VTC is this is too broad, and the hundreds of magical abilities in comic books so broad and physics-defying the answer is obviously "no possible way." $\endgroup$ – Amadeus Sep 14 '17 at 10:55
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    $\begingroup$ You might be interested in the recent Worldbuilding (Universe Factory) blog post Comically wrong — what can happen when you ignore physics. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Sep 14 '17 at 10:58

Achieving comicbook-style superpowers only by scientifically plausible biological means is pretty much impossible.

Genetic improvements (be they through natural evolution, selective breeding, genetic engineering or random mutation) might give humans some minor improvements. But you generally can not assume that you will get a human who is much better at anything than the most specialized animals.

  • Strength: The workaround "Ants can carry ten times their body weight, so humans should be able to do that too with enough genetic enhancements" doesn't work due to the square-cube law. When it comes to physical power, you have to look at animals which are about the same size as humans. You might be able to get a human as strong as a gorilla or as fast as a cheetah by genetic engineering, but that's pretty much the limit of what's plausible.
  • Weponry: You could give a human claws like a velociraptor or venom glands like a snake. But giving them the ability to shoot rays of energy out of their eyes or the palms of their hands is simply impossible by strictly biological means.
  • Flying: Giving humans birdlike wings for aerodynamic flight is barely plausible. See the question "How to make a flying human" for details. Superman-style flying with no visible means of propulsion is simply magic.
  • Intelligence: This one is tricky. We are already the most intelligent animals we are aware of. Also, the brain is the one organ we understand the least. It's hard to tell how much potential we might get out of it after a few more decades of research. But don't expect any psychic powers. There is no known physical principle which could explain telepathy, telekinesis or any other "psi powers".

Note that most of these modifications will have aesthetic consequences. Your superhumans would look different than normal humans, which might be an obstacle to integrating them into human society. Too much genetic modification might even make them so genetically different that they can no longer have children with non-modified humans. In that case you would have created an entirely new humanoid species which can technically no longer be considered human. That would raise lots of philosophical and ethical questions.

If you want to get beyond the abilities described above, want to avoid visible modifications or want to avoid creating a new species, you have to use cybernetic implants and/or magic.

  • $\begingroup$ I fully agree. Minor caveat: It is highly unlikely natural human evolution will lead to more muscular prowess. One of the central tenets of Evolution Theory is "if you don't use it you will lose it", as exemplified by our own incapacity to synthesize Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) which we never needed because it comes "free" with diet. Since we are not using our muscles to survive it is very likely we would become less strong. There are several evidences this has already happened, with no hint of a reversal. Someone is pointing to clues that the same is happening to our intelligence. $\endgroup$ – ZioByte Sep 14 '17 at 11:46
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    $\begingroup$ @ZioByte Well, ascorbic acid used to come free with diet; but not for modern humans. If we ate as many vegetables as our ape cousins or as much fruit as parrots; we'd be cool. But we really don't, and vitamin C deficiency is pretty rampant (versus the amount found in the bloodstreams of animals that manufacture their own). :-) $\endgroup$ – Amadeus Sep 14 '17 at 12:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Amadeus: yup! true, but we lost our ability to build it and I don't think it will come back anytime soon. That was what I wanted to say. We lost some of our physical prowess (see analysis on both Neanderthals and Australian aborigines) and it won't come back, much less improve from that. Sorry. $\endgroup$ – ZioByte Sep 14 '17 at 12:22
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    $\begingroup$ These abilities might reappear, though, if humanity (or a subgroup of humanity) experience drastic lifestyle changes with harsh natural selection for a few dozen generations. This could happen due to an apocalypse, society collapse, a counter-cultural movement or an ill-fated interstellar colonization project. $\endgroup$ – Philipp Sep 14 '17 at 12:30

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