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Thread: If it was scientifically possible to become a mer, would you?

  1. #1

    If it was scientifically possible to become a mer, would you?

    I was reading a book by physicist Michio Kaku the other day, called "Visions," written in 1999.

    He's a futurist; one who examines current trends in technology and forecasts what might be possible in the future. In the chapter on medical and genetic technology, he says, "But if one day we are able to manipulate the master genes that control entire organs of the body, the question naturally arises: will this knowledge give us the ability to create "metahumans" or "homo superior" in the future?"

    He then says later, "to transfer the organs of on animal (e.g., wings of a bird, fins of a fish, trunk of an elephant) into another will require techniques not available until long after 2050, perhaps after the 21st century."

    In this book, he correctly predicted deepfakes in the year 2020 - I saw one yesterday on YouTube of Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. deepfaked into Back to the Future. It borders on disturbing how realistic it looks.

    We see today that a lot of genetics stuff, like CRISPR, is improving. I can imagine a day when genetics will go crazy, and people will do... interesting things to themselves.

    Though many of us would jump at the chance to gain our own set of fins, this is usually with the pretense of magic, or wish granting being involved. With science at the helm however, I might be a little bit more timid to go along.

    Kaku, to my understanding, is envisioning that these modifications would be done before birth, and thus an individual would grow up being a permanent mermaid/merman. Not to mention, issues that would be involved in this modified individual, and certain bodily functions, such as going to the bathroom, and reproduction.

    I can imagine that perhaps, using a highly advanced, pacified virus, one could send this virus into an individual's body. As well as being able to change an individual born as a human into a merperson, you might be able to change the individual back and forth when desired.

    In this case, probably far after my lifetime, I'd love to literally become a merman.

    Let me know what y'all think below! Would you become a mer? What implications would there be of population of merpeople? Would there be any practical use for this?
    Last edited by CurrentTheMerboy; 02-17-2020 at 01:31 PM. Reason: adding extra questions

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by CurrentTheMerboy View Post
    We see today that a lot of genetics stuff, like CRISPR, is improving. I can imagine a day when genetics will go crazy, and people will do... interesting things to themselves.
    Search for bio hacking. Some already do experiments with their own body.

    Quote Originally Posted by CurrentTheMerboy View Post
    Let me know what y'all think below! Would you become a mer?
    I would probably like it but the environment must fit as well. I would not like to live like a caveman as i am too much into engineering. So maybe it is possible to do home office where home is some kind of house in a lake / the sea. I currently love swimming in my tail. Why should that change?

    Quote Originally Posted by CurrentTheMerboy View Post
    What implications would there be of population of merpeople?
    I think there is an effect on the eco system if a new kind appears as if sonething evolves naturally over millions of years the other living adjusts too. In this case it would go quite fast.
    Also at the beginning you will face some issues like being even able to find a partner.

    Quote Originally Posted by CurrentTheMerboy View Post
    Would there be any practical use for this?
    If Land runs out of space for people, there are the other 2/3 of the planet. Also I think it is healthier in case of professional diving (I. E. repairing stuff under water).

  3. #3
    Junior Member Euro Pod Tiefenrausch's Avatar
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    Since I am a fan of cyberpunk, which often deals in transhumanistic questions, I often asked myself the same question. And I came to the conclusion that a permanent tail would be awesome, but I couldn't live bound in a wheelchair (by choice at least, hope I'm not coming of as ableist or anything). BUT if the technology would allow it I would probably get some webbed hands and feet (maybe even modify the feet further to give better water propulsion), and if I was able to get more extensive stuff I would love to have cybernetic gills or any method of extending my time underwater, like adding an internal air tank. And for the finishing touches I would love to get scaled skin at the legs or something like that, purely for the looks of it

  4. #4
    Hello. Interesting speculation but for me well i'm very suspicious of people who use the "homo superior" and the like rhetorics i mean...well maybe it's because i have very good jewish friends and strong reason to suspect that i may have hidden jewish heritage in my family tree but when i hear stuff like that my blood freeze easily and besides that even if that be for sure a big change for humanity, i hardly see how doing genetics modifications on yourself for fun would makes you somehow superior to someone who would like a more well how to put it "natural look". I believe in equality too much to consider it that way.

    That being said if it was possible to use science to really breath in water and all that i would love it if it does not comes with too high sacrifices of personal health and other stuff like that but well one of the cool stuff with the magic fantasy is that in that dream you could change from mer look to human look at will and take the most fitting one depending on the situation. I have seriously no idea how i would react to a hypothetical real mermaid body so i would like to test if a few times before permanent decision on take it or leave it so i would say no if it was one try with no coming back possible but if it was something less permanent i would probably love it and if it could be permanent well i would have to test for some time for being sure of what i would really want to take as a road between still look usually human except for fun times and seriously looking mermaid definitively i guess.

    Other problem in what he says he seems to talk about choose of your baby form...well that scary...would it mean like ectogenesis and capitalist state controlled birth machine disconnected from mothers bodies? I have some kind of a Aldous Huxley Brave New World feeling imagining that...that sounds definitively dystopic at least in my opinion futhermore...parents decides if their baby is mermaid like or not in this exemple right? That's kinda abusive isn't it? I mean...newborn are not exactly in a position that implies consent. Well i know it's just speculation and i may very well be overthinking all of it but i tends to do that all the time.

    And finally for the implication for the mer community well the best guess i always have had about future where the ones bases one analysis effects of not so far away past in present days so i guess like the most radical body modification today especially at the very beginning it would be very marginal i mean a lot of people would pay a high price to live long and prosper healthily...only some originals would do the same for becames mer so i guess such individual would be part of the community but outnumbered by people with more traditional mertails especially at the beginning of this technology and in the western world (besides i'm French and catholics countries seems to have more of a problem with body modification than protestant ones for some reason so i guess UK and US would be more willing to do this stuff than kind of stuff than most french people so the popularity of that would probably fluctuates with cultural differences and price of course) because there some religious taboo about people body modifications even with piercings and tatoos so if the world still look like today then i have quite a hard time to imagine that kind of attitude would have totally disappear and finding a job with a mer body besides for pro mermaiding would be practical so i guess the few people who would take that road definitively and not only in a optionnal way for fun times would be really feeling a huge mental need for that. They are some but even here they clearly don't seem like the majority and unless oceans becomes the only cold viable place on earth because global warming or something like this i don't see why the popularity of that need would change any time as (relatively) soon as in 30 years from now.

    Oh a last thing now that i think of it even people with huge mental need of that kind of body modification may not want to take this road i mean a lot of them are attracted to paganism not just because magic and fantastical beliefs but also pagan or not quite a few are staunch environnementalists that would probably think this technology would be better used for resolve ecological crisis and disagree to take it and some may even be against it very existence even with being themselves people who could have use it for their personnal mental needs because of religious or ecological technocritics beliefs. So i guess like with everything about mermaid even here if such thing did exist some mers would love it others hate it other don't care all that much and some would use that some not. Well that was the best answer i could think of. Sorry i always writes too much.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Mermaid Fina View Post
    Hello. Interesting speculation but for me well i'm very suspicious of people who use the "homo superior" and the like rhetorics i mean...well maybe it's because i have very good jewish friends and strong reason to suspect that i may have hidden jewish heritage in my family tree but when i hear stuff like that my blood freeze easily and besides that even if that be for sure a big change for humanity, i hardly see how doing genetics modifications on yourself for fun would makes you somehow superior to someone who would like a more well how to put it "natural look". I believe in equality too much to consider it that way.
    Kaku's words, not mine. A reason why I've thought about this is, myself being religious, I'm not sure how keen God would be about us taking our bodies and shaping them into what we want, rather than His image.
    I'd imagine that the moment this kind of genetics becomes possible, the leaders of my Church will step up and say that they believe that the human body should not be modified in such a dramatic way.

    If I could be both a merman and a human whenever I wanted, I'd probably be fine with it. Knowing reality however, there'd probably be significant unforseen drawbacks to becoming a mer. Perhaps the way that breathing underwater is done. Perhaps is has a slight chance of causing damage to your body's sensitive areas.

    One thing's for sure, just like space tourism, I'd like to do it someday, but I'm DEFINITELY not going to be the first one to try.

  6. #6
    Yes i understand but his formulation made me a bit uneasy especially as nobody else seems to notice it in the answers but my background may be making me a bit oversensitive in that kind of issues i admit. Well for God i don't know especially as in my view lot of people pretends their own opinion to be God one's when well i have no idea how they can know that but for the religious communities sure they definitively seems to be not to enthusiastic with that kind of stuff for most of them. On space tourism and possibility of being a "real mermaid" with "science magic" i share your view of maybe i would like to try but let lots of others tries before me because i may love adventure but i want a long life. Well except if that kind of occasion of being the first one came when i'm really old not to bad a way to die i guess.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiefenrausch View Post
    Since I am a fan of cyberpunk, which often deals in transhumanistic questions, I often asked myself the same question. And I came to the conclusion that a permanent tail would be awesome, but I couldn't live bound in a wheelchair (by choice at least, hope I'm not coming of as ableist or anything). BUT if the technology would allow it I would probably get some webbed hands and feet (maybe even modify the feet further to give better water propulsion), and if I was able to get more extensive stuff I would love to have cybernetic gills or any method of extending my time underwater, like adding an internal air tank. And for the finishing touches I would love to get scaled skin at the legs or something like that, purely for the looks of it
    As for me, I'd need to go for the traditional Disney style merfolk look. I've never been into the webbed fingers. And plus, if i'm going merman, I want the full tail that comes with it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Pod of Cali Merman Storm's Avatar
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    I would first ask just what the change would be. We may learn how to modify our bodies, but we cannot change the laws of physics. For example, what about breathing underwater? Many works of fiction place gills on the side of the neck. That would not work, they would not be large enough by a huge margin. Use the lungs? They have the area needed for gas exchange, but the passages into them and inside them are not large enough to get water in and out in sufficient volume. Your nostrils would have to be enlarged to an inch in diameter or so, which would make for a very ugly transformation!
    Then there is practical matters. Like the ability to handle cold. Would it require walrus levels of blubber? Would it require at least some blubber around the head, again being rather ugly?
    What about land movement? Fiction Has shown everything from painful dragging of the tail (Mako) to rather fast bounding (Puss n Boots, the TV series https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zl_YWdZ6Rao). What is in fact doable?
    Then I would still want to watch TV, play computer games, get somewhere fast by taking an airplane, etc. Would the change allow all of that?
    What if my wife wants nothing to do with it? Could we still live and be together?
    Anyway, I would first want to know all the details and side effects.
    Are you a Frozen fan? Frozen fanfiction:
    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10952902/1/Rain-of-a-Child-s-Tear

    Let the storm rage on!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Merman Storm View Post
    I would first ask just what the change would be. We may learn how to modify our bodies, but we cannot change the laws of physics. For example, what about breathing underwater? Many works of fiction place gills on the side of the neck. That would not work, they would not be large enough by a huge margin. Use the lungs? They have the area needed for gas exchange, but the passages into them and inside them are not large enough to get water in and out in sufficient volume. Your nostrils would have to be enlarged to an inch in diameter or so, which would make for a very ugly transformation!
    Then there is practical matters. Like the ability to handle cold. Would it require walrus levels of blubber? Would it require at least some blubber around the head, again being rather ugly?
    What about land movement? Fiction Has shown everything from painful dragging of the tail (Mako) to rather fast bounding (Puss n Boots, the TV series https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zl_YWdZ6Rao). What is in fact doable?
    Then I would still want to watch TV, play computer games, get somewhere fast by taking an airplane, etc. Would the change allow all of that?
    What if my wife wants nothing to do with it? Could we still live and be together?
    Anyway, I would first want to know all the details and side effects.
    All very good points.

    Something I've thought is maybe by the time we attain this kind of genetic technology, we'll have developed nanotechnology and bio-machines to help us along with certain things. Maybe some sort of thing that grows inside our nasal passages that gathers more oxygen? Just a thought.

    I agree with you, that there'd be a lot of prerequisites before I'd consider becoming a mer, the biggest one being that I could change back and forth when I so desired.

    If we are someday successful though in creating traditional looking merpeople, I'm doubtful that there would be much practical use of the tech. Of recreational use it's hard to say though. I bet that some variation of the mer idea might become real. Perhaps it could be used for the colonization of ocean worlds like Europa, or for scientific research on Earth.
    I doubt we'll ever get to waterworld levels with global warming though.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    Forget gills. I want to be able to breathe through my scales. My mer look, is the full scaled from shoulders to feet. So being able to breathe through my scales would be a bonus.

    And, once transformed to mermaid, to stay a mermaid, tail, fins and all. Not to change to human like the fantasy stories.
    Last edited by Mermaid Jaffa; 02-18-2020 at 02:20 AM.
    Formerly known as ireneho

  11. #11
    I would do it in a heart beat


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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Mermaid Jaffa View Post
    Forget gills. I want to be able to breathe through my scales. My mer look, is the full scaled from shoulders to feet. So being able to breathe through my scales would be a bonus.

    And, once transformed to mermaid, to stay a mermaid, tail, fins and all. Not to change to human like the fantasy stories.
    Hopefully, in this scenario, technology has gotten to a place where you can live underwater while still having some modern conveniences. I think it's fair to say that being stuck in the water, eventually you'd miss something.

    For me, the thing that I'd want with me is a cute red-tailed mermaid.

  13. #13
    You might enjoy Starfish, a book by Peter Watts. His "merpeople" are actually workers on a deep sea geothermal energy plant and have been modified to breathe water. It's kind of a cool concept-- their left lung is replaced with machinery that splits water into H and O, but they keep the right lung so they can still breathe air. There's other stuff too that the biology nerd in me just loves.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CurrentTheMerboy View Post
    Hopefully, in this scenario, technology has gotten to a place where you can live underwater while still having some modern conveniences. I think it's fair to say that being stuck in the water, eventually you'd miss something.

    For me, the thing that I'd want with me is a cute red-tailed mermaid.
    I don't want a toaster. Or a microwave. I want to be wild and free, and eat things whilst its still wriggling.
    Formerly known as ireneho

  15. #15
    Senior Member Pod of Cali Merman Storm's Avatar
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    On the other hand, if such transformations were possible, I would more likely go for bird-man, and be able to fly.
    Are you a Frozen fan? Frozen fanfiction:
    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10952902/1/Rain-of-a-Child-s-Tear

    Let the storm rage on!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merman Storm View Post
    On the other hand, if such transformations were possible, I would more likely go for bird-man, and be able to fly.
    I prefer to be underwater. The surface world is too noisy.
    Formerly known as ireneho

  17. #17
    Junior Member Euro Pod Tiefenrausch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mermaid Jaffa View Post
    I prefer to be underwater. The surface world is too noisy.
    Then I'm sorry to inform you that even though water tends to drown out more high pitched frequencies, sound travels way further underwater. The myth that the ocean is silent, especially in the shallows is exactly that, a myth. There are fishes who are so noisy, especially when trying to find a mate, that it tends to confuse the sonar of ships in the vicinity
    Last edited by Tiefenrausch; 02-20-2020 at 01:40 AM. Reason: spelling

  18. #18
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiefenrausch View Post
    Then I'm sorry to inform you that even though water tends to drown out more high pitched frequencies, sound travels way further underwater. The myth that the ocean is silent, especially in the shallows is exactly that, a myth. There are fishes who are so noisy, especially when trying to find a mate, that it tends to confuse the sonar of ships in the vicinity
    Never said I'd be living in the shallows. I want to be deep down in the darkness where I am the predator. I like the muted sounds underwater. Fish noises can be attuned to be background noises.
    Formerly known as ireneho

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