What is a superhuman?
Most likely you're thinking about the latest Marvel movie you watched, and you're not far off. Being superhuman means extending your human abilities and doing something you wouldn't otherwise be capable of.
Now, in the comic book world this means heat ray vision and turning into immortal gods, but in the real world superhuman abilities are not only real, but they're actually... here.
Genetically engineering superhumans will take generations to come to fruition, but there are ways you can enhance your superhuman engineering with our current technology. And we already use these things on a daily basis, even though we might not always realize it.
5 ways to harness your inner superhuman (using nothing but your smartphone)
Take your average Joe and put him in an empty room. Give him nothing more than the clothes on his back and have him complete a series of basic tests. Then take your average Joe as he'd walk around in our society today: laptop and smartphone at his side. How does he improve after being subjected to the same tests?
In other words, how is our current technology genetically engineering superhumans?
1. Embrace knowledge as power
Whoever said that knowledge is power knew what they were talking about. And nowadays we have an almost endless amount of knowledge available at our fingertips - in fact, we have access to more information than we could ever process, even if we were given several lifetimes.
Just take Wikipedia as a perfect example: tens of thousands of pages teaching us all about everything. Nowadays we're just a second away from discovering how combustion engines work, or how to take care of house plants. And to think that just a century ago you had to, like, walk to the library to find out.
And just a decade ago this knowledge was limited to us using a computer. Nowadays all you have to do is talk to your wrist (Ok Google, ...) and learn the results.
2. Conjure the memory of an elephant
I don't know about you, but my memory has become weaker over the years. Yeah, that's not a very promising superpower, but superhuman engineering means that you share the burden of memory with the tools at our disposal.
The reason my memory weakens is that I don't have to force myself to remember the trivial things around me and focus more on what really matters. Do I need to do some research? Yep, focus on that. Do I really need to remember to buy cat food tonight? Sure, but that can be set as a reminder just as well.
Nowadays not only do we have infinite memories - I can recall exactly what I was doing on the 29th of October in 2013 just by looking at my location history - but we've become less affected by the stress of keeping tabs on everything.
3. Become straight-up telepathic
Remember Professor X? The one that gives the X-Men their name? He's able to communicate telepathically with other people. Gee, wouldn't that be awesome? Let me call my friends and -- oh wait!
We've had phones for a long time, but in the 21st century we can communicate with anybody across the globe and find out exactly what they're thinking, saying, and doing at any given moment.
You don't need to be an actual superhuman when you can Skype somebody at the Arctic circle. Heck, you can get in touch with people who aren't even on Earth! Well, as long as you get the International Space Station's phone number.
And once more, you can do this with the tiny technology-packed device you carry around with you all day!
4. Fly faster than a speeding bullet
Remember how at the turn of the last century people would fantasize about being able to fly one day? A couple of decades later flying cars became the dream of the future, and we were all imagining highways in the sky and flying everywhere.
If you take a step back and look at our world today you'll see that we already have this. You can fly across the continent in a couple of hours, and the "flying cars" we once dreamed of are just less car, more... plane. One more reason why technology rocks, we can not only compete with birds but far surpass them.
5. Supercharge your thoughts
This is hands down the thing I like the most about our current technology: we can use digital power to do things our brains take a lot longer to do.
If you have a particularly difficult math equation on your hands, you can turn to Wolfram Alpha to solve it for you. Need to map out the best course for your upcoming trip? Spend hours figuring out the fastest or most economic route, or spend seconds doing that with Google Maps.
A lot of what we do is aided by our PCs and our smartphones, and even though digital algorithms have a long way to go before they match the human brain, technology can do certain tasks at a much faster pace than we could. And that gives us time to be creative, to live, and to be humans.
Plus, it won't be long before we'll be able to physically and physiologically merge with our tech, blurring the lines between human and machine. Just think - someday soon, when you Google something, you'll be able to do it inside your own mind.
What technology do you rely on to stay superhuman? Post your favorites in the comments below.
photo credit: extremetech.com