“It is a medical commonplace that the tissues of the human body replace themselves regularly, essentially creating an entirely new body every seven years. From whence then come cancer and the slow degeneration of age? They exist as faults in the patterns of intelligence within the genes themselves; by reprogramming these smallest parts, the whole becomes well.”
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, “Nonlinear Genetics”
It becomes possible to create new Nanohospitals upon the advent of the Homo Superior. From the gameplay perspective, Nanohospitals are best seen as improved versions of the old Research Hospitals. They serve as multiplier buildings for research and psych energy and they stack with their predecessors.
In the associated quote, Zakharov gives us some insight into how the future of medicine will go. It’s a very sensible approach, assuming that you have the nigh-magical powers over biology represented by the Biomachinery technology. But it’s pretty interesting to note that this facility is located here and not unlocked by the previous technology, which we might recall was amply sufficient to enable faction-wide Cloning Vats.
The implication is that medicine is in some sense harder than building someone from scratch. On the one hand, that seems a little strange. It’s usually easier and cheaper to patch a system that’s already working than to try to build something new.
Then again, if you think about it, that’s essentially how we deal with the problem of aging now. Even as we try and fail to arrest cancer and age with medical interventions, we’re raising up the next generation of people to take the place of their elders when they inevitably succumb to the vagaries of microscopic chance. Cloning a billion new people is a matter of resources; fixing one cancer patient is a matter of knowledge.
Either way, the existence of the Nanohospital has one other fascinating in-world effect. If it’s possible to edit the tissues of a living being to restore them to health, it also opens up the theoretical possibility to uplift the existing stock of outdated Homo Sapiens to the new Homo Superior. Maybe they’ll never be quite as good as a true-born superman, but they’d probably at least be somewhat competitive.
This is probably a very good thing. Especially given that the alternative is likely some sort of crazy species war. After all, that’s almost assuredly what happened in real life when our ancestors emerged from Africa and encountered the other, now-extinct branches of the hominid family.
It also goes a good way toward explaining how the original faction leaders could remain at the cutting edge of their factions’ philosophy. It’s one thing to postulate longevity treatments to keep the faction leaders alive and in charge for the length of the game. It’s another to imagine that the leaders manage to remain at something close to their intellectual and charismatic peaks for all that time. And then it’s a still further leap to imagine that this peak actually represents anything close to maximum human potential, given the fact that we’ve seen just humanity create a whole new, better species.
We already know from previous quotes that Lal personally adopted the early Neural Grafting technology when it first became available. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine that all of the other leaders take advantage of their access to all sorts of cutting-edge technology to magnify their native gifts. At the very least, if they are no longer the most brilliant, most insightful people in their factions by the late game, they are able to keep up well enough with the new generations to plausibly retain their leadership positions.