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But what will we eat?

Public Group active 10 months, 1 week ago

Food stuffs. Agriculture. Nutrition.

3D printing your diet

This topic contains 18 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by 4 years, 1 month ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)
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  • #1303
    Profile photo of Elizabeth Bear
    Elizabeth Bear
    Participant

    What do you think of the possibility of 3D printing food? Food that was never grown nor raised, essentially, but assembled from molecules? A steak from HP!

    I admit, I’m a little leery of its (healthful) feasibility: to me, it smacks a little of the 1950s Food Pill Utopianism that led by fairly direct paths to our modern, toxic, processed, micronutrient-free diet. The fact of the matter is that food is complicated. Supplements just don’t do what whole foods do; the synergy of the system is proving incredibly hard to model.

    #1306
    Profile photo of Lars Ivar Igesund
    Lars Ivar Igesund
    Participant

    I’m positive towards 3D printing of food, although I’m leaning more against in-vitro production of it (at least if we’re talking about meat). There is real and active research on this topic, and promises to deliver pretty much what we eat today (e.g. red meat), but healthier because less healthy fats can omitted, and with a much better ecological footprint  on production (no need for all those farting cows taking up millions of acres).

    #1307

    I agree with Lars.  Why waste all that land, time and energy. Or contribute to the suffering of animals if you don’t have to.

    Says that famous futurist Winston  Churchill “Fifty years hence, we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.”   Once we get past the “yuck factor” , Weber Grills will be searing lab grown steaks across the world.

    More importantly, it will be a way to mass produce nutrition for those that need it most.

    But Elizabeth Bear has an excellent point in that food is complicated and a printer may not be the best way. I think a lab in the short term makes more sense because you can emulate the meat without having a sentient being created and destroyed.  There may, of course, be unintended consequences.  However, we eat processed things all the time. Lab processed meat will surely be healthier than the dirty water hot dogs on food trucks here in NYC. Your body will not know the difference if the components of a farm animal or lab grown animal are exactly the same sans audible moos and oinks in the former.

    I ran across this person who is performing a “body hack” to see if he can live on one drink, which he calls “Soylent” (poor choice of a word for SF fans)  http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/rob-rhinehart-no-longer-requires-food

    I think in general food distribution is a fundamental problem that should be dealt with innovatively. Any effort to make food accessible to the people that are starving now as we type here is worth trying.

    #1311
    Profile photo of Elizabeth Bear
    Elizabeth Bear
    Participant

    I think getting rid of the cows is the best of all possible options: humane/cruelty-free meat is very attractive to me. (I eat animals probably three days out of five. I try to get my cows and eggs from local farms wherever possible, for various reasons–welfare of the animals, health of the consumer, ecological and economical and political–but our local beef farmer is getting out of the business because of the cost of liability insurance, despite the fact that his product is a heck of a lot safer than factory meat.)

    This leads me to wonder what the liability problems in vat meat is. (Personally, there’s less yuck factor for me in vat/printed meat than there is in real dead animals.) I also wonder if stem cell based vat meat isn’t a heck of a lot more feasible than printed meat.

    #1317
    Profile photo of Zach Berkson
    Zach Berkson
    Participant

    Can someone explain the concept of “printing” meat? I’m not sure I understand. If we have all the components for a meat-substitute, what is the benefit of printing it out, other than aesthetic? Why not eat it as some sort of paste? Or is the printing some sort of molecular assembly process?

    #1319
    Profile photo of Brenda Cooper
    Brenda Cooper
    Participant

    3D printing will have to mature a lot for this to be workable, and I agree that “food” appears to be a pretty complex thing.  Still, I kind of expect the tech may well get there.  I do see a few trends that might make engineered food look good.  As we’re learning more about our bodies and genetics, it appears that individualized diets and medicine might be useful (look at the work going on to fit cancer medicines to tumors).  Also, to pick up on Christopher’s comment, I suspect that even food which might not be “ideal” could be far better than starvation.

    #1323
    Profile photo of Bruce Sterling
    Bruce Sterling
    Participant

    http://tcaproject.org/projects/victimless/cuisine

     

    *I dunno if this “explains” anything about “victimless meat,” but it was a pretty cool piece of speculative design thirteen years ago.

     

    *The “Soylent” drink was well-placed for its demographic; hacking Soylent sounds a lot sexier now than the long tradition of liquid diets such as, say, Metrecal from 50 years ago.

     

    Personally, I never worry about speculative and futuristic ideas seeming old.  I’ve found that the older concepts are commonly the stronger ones, and the newfangled ones that seem to lack an intellectual ancestry just haven’t found it yet.

     

    #1379
    Profile photo of Bruce Sterling
    Bruce Sterling
    Participant

    After reading so much speculate food riffing on Hieroglyph, I decided to throw some edible crickets at the BBC.

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130507-bruce-sterling-2050-city-vision

     

     

    #1380
    Profile photo of Bruce Sterling
    Bruce Sterling
    Participant

    After reading so much speculative food riffing on Hieroglyph, I decided to throw some edible crickets at the BBC.

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130507-bruce-sterling-2050-city-vision

     

     

    #1383
    Profile photo of Elizabeth Bear
    Elizabeth Bear
    Participant

    I’ve eaten the occasional cricket lately. They have kind of a musty taste, but they’re not bad. (They come in a protein-bar formulation, and also in individual munchable snack packs.)

    But as cheap protein, right now, they’re failing on price point, because they’re still a novelty. And they’re not particularly satisfying.

    #1394
    Profile photo of Zach Berkson
    Zach Berkson
    Participant

    What about growing them yourself? That must be more cost-savvy, and I like the idea of “mini-livestock.”

    Anywhere we can go for caretaking tips? Or tasty home recipes?

    I’m tempted to throw a dinner party serving insects in some sort of unrecognizable form, then see how people react when I reveal the secret ingredient. (Soylent green is made of beeeeetles!)

    #1395
    Profile photo of Zach Berkson
    Zach Berkson
    Participant

    Speaking of, here’s a blog post from one of my Center for Science and the Imagination co-bloggers on the very same subject:

    http://csi.asu.edu/csi/hungry-for-crickets/

    #1404
    Profile photo of Bruce Sterling
    Bruce Sterling
    Participant

    “UN Urges World To Eat More Insects”

     

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-22508439

     

    That FAO .pdf is really a startlingly comprehensive document.  I’ve never seen such an extensive and lucid discussion of the subject of insect-eating.

    http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3253e/i3253e.pdf

     

    #1416
    Profile photo of Bruce Sterling
    Bruce Sterling
    Participant

    *Glossy, well-illustrated article on 3DPrinted food from the design site Dezeen.  Queues up many of the usual suspects.

     

    http://www.dezeen.com/2013/05/13/print-shift-extract-3d-printed-food/

     

    #1487
    Profile photo of Elizabeth Bear
    Elizabeth Bear
    Participant

    And here’s one on the current state of the technology, with a really unappetizing looking photo of a turkey cube mid-print-job.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/fieldnotes/2013/05/24/printed-space-food-all-the-calories-but-still-missing-something/#.Uae4_dhv-Io

     

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