Damn Interesting’s article on Meat-o-matic is actually kind of scary. NASA scientists managed to grow artificial fish meat in a vat. They took a few small chunks of fish meat, placed it in growth solution and presumbly use some tumour cells or something to make it divide quickly. To replicate exercise, the meat also needs to be stretched. The main aim is to give astronauts travelling to Mars or people living on the Moon a cost-effective way of eating meat.
I don’t find the idea of test tube meat very appetising and I can’t see myself ever willingly trying or eating it but I can certainly imagine a world where artificially-grown meat is commonplace. The population of the world is growing quickly and there are only a limited amount of resources. It’s said that meat demand in China is doubling every 10 years. Growing edible muscle is a more efficient and effective way of enabling everyone to eat meat without the problems associated with waste, pollution and space.
Artificial meat production could evolve into technologies such as the replicators from Star Trek. Damn Interesting has an alternative vision:
Because the idea of vat meat isn’t particularly appetizing, one has to wonder whether these meat machines will become the source of cheap meat for the massive underclass of the future. The rich will dine on corn-fed Iowa beef while the poor masses slave away in the underground factories, lunching on cultured meat tumor-chow laced with obedience-enhancing drugs. It seems almost inevitable.
Perhaps cultured tumour muscle meat is something that we’ll all have to get used to in a couple of decades.