Will In-Vitro Meat Change Our Lives?
In a recent article in h+, Hank Hyena wrote a gleefully exuberant article on Eight Ways In-Vitro Meat Will Change Our Lives. Just for fun, I thought I'd give some of the sf writer arguments (and real life science arguments) in response to just three of his statements.
No more ranches.
Since in-vitro meat will be substantially cheaper (half the price), no one will buy the full animal just to have its meat.
Some people will pay twice the price just for better quality meat now. A few people pay ten times as much for "heirloom" meat varieties like Kobe beef. Also, it's a favorite device of sf writers to emphasize that people will always pay for natural beef; consider this quote from William Gibson's 1984 novel Neuromancer:
"Jesus," Molly said, her own plate empty, "gimme that. You know what this costs?" She took his plate. 'They gotta raise a whole animal for years and then they kill it. This isn't vat stuff." She forked a mouthful up and chewed.
In-Vitro meat will be 100% muscle.
IVM will not be 100% muscle; nobody eats meat that lean, except maybe for chicken. Successful IVM will resemble real meat as closely as possible; if it's just as cheap to make well-marbled T-bone steaks (bone and all!), then people will certainly buy it and in larger quantities. Mind you, there will be meat like chicken breast that will be served up lean - ChickieNobs, anyone? Or maybe a Kzin's food brick, as described in Niven's 1970 novel Ringworld. It's just the thing when you can't chase down some real meat:
Presently Speaker returned to the 'cycles. His mouth was not bloody. At his 'cycle he dialed, not for an allergy pill, but for a wet brick-shaped slab of warm liver. The mighty hunter returns, Louis thought, keeping his mouth firmly shut.
Exotic and Kinky Cuisine
IVM versions of rare animals (and even you and me) will be made available.
Unusual animal meat (like bison and ostrich) is already being served in places like the lunchroom at Cabela's, the outdoor outfitter's favorite store. I don't doubt that there is a market for other rare IVM meats.
Human meat for human consumption? This creepy possible future has also been described by science fiction writers. Ian Banks described it in his 1991 story The State of the Art, in which "stewed Idi Amin" is served. Larry Niven described the same idea in his earlier work Assimilating Our Culture, That's What They're Doing, a 1978 Draco Tavern story. Hopefully, it won't include any products like brain, which may pass on prion-related illnesses like Jakob-Creutzfeldt disease.
Read Eight Ways In-Vitro Meat will Change Our Lives; thanks to Winchell Chung.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/18/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 8 )
Related News Stories -
Electronic Tongues Will Rule The Kitchen
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...' - Anthony Boucher, 1943
Mass Production Of In Vitro Meat From One Sample
They're Assimilating Our Culture, That's What They're Doing
Mealworms Food Of The Future
Get your grubs on.
Self-Driving Domino's Pizza Car
Yes, but can it negotiate entry at your Burbclave?
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."
Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'
DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'
Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.
ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.
When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'
Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'
'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'
Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'
Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'
Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.
Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'
Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'
Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
I welcome our floating robotic assistants.
SRI MicroFactory Of Microrobots Recalls Dick's Autofac
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants... constructing something...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories