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adam_dorr t1_j0gonsl wrote

Howdy, Adam Dorr, Director of Research at RethinkX here. My team did some key work in 2019 that laid out the disruptive potential of these new food technologies. We coined the term precision fermentation in that original report, which is become the industry term of art.

We also analyzed the climate change implications of these new food technologies in combination with the energy and transportation disruptions.

If anyone is interested in these new technologies, I just published a new book that discusses the potential of precision fermentation, cellular agriculture, and the other disruptive clean technologies to help us solve our greatest environmental problems. The book is titled Brighter: Optimism, Progress, and the Future of Environmentalism, and it was inspired in no small part by the enormous amount of pessimism and doom-and-gloom I've seen here on Reddit and elsewhere online, especially among young people. It's absolutely heartbreaking that people think our future is bleak, when in fact there has never been greater cause for data-driven optimism. I wanted to show everyone how our work at RethinkX points to a future that is far, FAR brighter than many imagine.

If you need cheering up for the holidays, check it out: shameless plug.

I'll be around for a bit this morning and will keep an eye on this post, if anyone has any questions!


beermaker t1_j0gtb4e wrote

Since learning about what voracious critters Yeast are in the brewing/wine industry, I've been amazed at what potential still lies ahead for these little chemical factories... from dairy fats and proteins, to terpenes and THC.


ATribeOfAfricans t1_j0hjgjx wrote

I'm interested in reading your book but one thing I notice is that it's not that people believe we do not have the capability for a brighter future, from a technical standpoint, I think it's doubt in our ability to align and solve them from a social/cultural standpoint.


adam_dorr t1_j0hsmcs wrote

It's a great point, and a concern I share. The thing that makes me so optimistic is that prosperity and abundance really change the game. We've seen this historically again and again. When something is scarce or expensive, that's when people argue, debate, fight, go to war. When it's sufficiently cheap and abundant and free of terrible side-effects, then people stop fighting over it.

So, when clean energy and clean food and automation converge to render themselves and virtually everything else superabundant, that opens up a huge new opportunity to stop fighting and start cooperating.

Prosperity really is a fundamental enabling condition of cooperation - and it's of course self-reinforcing. There is a crucial corollary here too, which is that if we voluntarily dive into scarcity by downsizing and degrowing economically in the name of sustainability, we will shoot ourselves in the foot, because scarcity (aka poverty, let's not kid ourselves) will foment conflict of every kind. Concerns about the environment and sustainability are some of the first things to go out the window amidst poverty and social conflict.


ATribeOfAfricans t1_j0j9kmg wrote

Thanks for responding and you speak the truth. I definitely agree about scarcity, or perceived scarcity, being a huge driver for conflict. So many people rely on that fear to acquire and hang onto power by pitting different groups against eachother.

A deep rooted fear I have is that our brains are simply not equipped to deal with a world of abundance and conflict will propagate regardless


iikra t1_j0m4ogj wrote

First, hats off to your several analysis of future disruptive industries, really interesting :)

The Rethink X report on Precision Fermentation is now more than 3 years old.

I would like to know if the current development/cost of production is on track with the 2019 forecast. I have the feeling it has been a bit over-optimistic.


When do you think lab grown meat will start to be competitive with traditional meat? Milk?


adam_dorr t1_j0mnsbm wrote

Thanks for your interest in our work!

It's hard to separate the signal from the noise during the pandemic period, but in broad terms the cost improvements are right on track with what we expected - mainly because of the absolutely massive scaling that is currently going on globally in this new industry. We are hoping to publish an update to our earlier analysis next year, but my personal expectation is that the original projections in the 2019 report will prove to be quite accurate as we approach 2030.

As for when the new products approach parity, it depends on the exact product in particular geographic regions/markets, but my general expectation is that by the mid-2020s there will be many markets where precision fermentation and cellular agriculture products are being produced the same or lower cost than traditional animal products. Keep in mind that cost (for producers) is not the same as the price that end-consumers pay.


Neil_Live-strong t1_j0kx8c5 wrote

Pessimism and optimism are emotions, not a philosophy. And when I look at what is being proposed here and based off of my life experience and how these types of operations have gone before, I am pessimistic. My first question is, what do you think the goal is here in relation to climate change?

And now to the substance. What some animals are able to do by converting grass and vegetation into vitamin rich meat is nothing short of amazing. What some humans do by taking part in a relationship that predates our species is nothing short of spiritual. This is fake. It’s not “milk” or “meat” or whatever you are trying to pretend it is. It’s something else trying to mimic those things. And that is devastating to the human spirit, as are mass production farms and feed lots. But you can’t help the human spirit by killing it in another way. So all of this farmland gets converted into nature, then what, a pass is needed to access it? All this farmland is taken away with “sticks”, then what? Families that have farmed for generations are told to just find something else to do under threat of fines. That’s not compassionate at all and sets the foundation for this project on a sinkhole. The claim is this is to help humanity and we have to do that by really screwing over some humans. Lies are the nails that build a house of failure.

Like I said pessimism is an emotion, and it’s disingenuous to ignore pessimistic emotions about the future and not address some of the problems related to this technology.


thisimpetus t1_j0lmikn wrote

For someone who entered this conversation with a reasonable point, that pessimism is not philosophy, it's pretty incredible how rapidly this went entirely off the rails into the land of utter, utter nonsense.

And to be clear, I've been a devout Buddhist for twenty years, I take no issue with spirituality; I take enormous issue with nonsense.

We don't want or care about "milk", we want a particular flavour, texture and nutrient profile with a feasible ecological footprint. Your projecting emotion and ideology into protein synthesis is ridiculous behaviour that has no bearing in reality whatsoever.


Weed_Exterminator t1_j19rcnj wrote

To think you could simply impose your will on people with generations of work invested, without push-back, is what I would consider “utter nonsense”.


DannyMcDanface1 OP t1_j0g4jwy wrote

Submission statement

With cellular agriculture and precision fermentation on the brink of becoming mainstream it really does seem like we are at the start of a food production revolution. Being able to produce the foods we love using a fraction of the land would allow us to rewild and restore habitats that have been lost to farming. If this technology can undercut the price of conventional meat and dairy it will be a win for both the environment and farm animals.


collin-h t1_j0i5m8i wrote

I struggle to imagine a world where people/companies/whoever are just gonna take their land and turn it back over to the wilderness. But it is a nice thought.


partsbradley t1_j0ihc51 wrote

Agreed. Farmers will whinge and cry how their livelihood is being destroyed. But if someone could find a way to help them transition the land use and continue to make money, that would be best.

The other problem is that reducing the number of farms will increase the mega Corp owned farmers. Damnit, its like every solution comes with different problems.


Wroisu t1_j0im2x3 wrote

Just like artists are doing now (regarding the whinging)


CheckMateFluff t1_j0ishfa wrote

Right? the amount of pearl-clutching I've seen in specific subreddits is ridiculous. All their arguments ring out hollow and boil down to them thinking AI art is "cheating"


Grayman222 t1_j0kl558 wrote

the megacorp farms would also go to this way though through following the money. they would also probably make a like grandpa made boutique real food brand though. Impact on the independent farmer seems indeterminate?

More land for housing, maybe walkable communities, but also they could be switching to soy, wheat, or whatever inputs are still needed the most.


HookLogan t1_j0h5a8f wrote

Very optimistic to think that land will be given back to nature. More likely sprawling construction projects and parking lots


DeepestShallows t1_j0he9a7 wrote

At the scale agriculture exists? Seems doubtful.

Even in the US agriculture has 17% of the land and urban areas 2%. In Belgium it’s 45% to 9%. In the UK 63% to 9%.

Even the most committed suburban sprawl enthusiast is going to run out of concrete before they can make the urban environment 9 or 10 times bigger.


Me_Krally t1_j0hbf1e wrote

And more server farms, casinos and Amazon warehouses.

How do I opt out please? I don’t want my food genetically created, it’s unnatural, subjected to nefarious modifications and even more price fixing then what’s currently going on.

I giggle at this part of the article: “don’t be misled by cartoons of happy cows with daisies protruding from their lips.”

I live in NY, home of the cow field. I’m sure they exist, but I’ve never seen anything like that before. It’s usually 70% land to chicken or cow or horse.


the_better_twin t1_j0hduu0 wrote

Domestication of animals has been humanity genetically modifying animals for thousands of years. We also pump our animals full of antibiotics and growth hormones. Bit strange to draw the line now.


Me_Krally t1_j0hmdbp wrote

Yup, I’ll take my living, breathing, real life animals and not cloned, genetically modified the way nature didn’t intended any day.

The real issue that none of you care about is once genetically grown meat takes hold there’s no going back.


Anakin_BlueWalker3 t1_j0jqgwh wrote

>The real issue that none of you care about is once genetically grown meat takes hold there’s no going back.

You can buy some cows...


snash222 t1_j0gcu6n wrote

I wonder what percent of farmland in the US is devoted to wasteful ethanol production.


ta137885532266888 t1_j0gl9rq wrote

Less than you’d think. Ethanol plants are slowing down or shifting into different products like making alcohol


Jrowe47 t1_j0gtvby wrote

Ethanol is alcohol.

Subsidized corn for federally mandated fuel additives is still increasing in the US - like other subsidized crops, it will continue to increase until the money goes away.

The drinking alcohol piece of the puzzle is a niche endeavor, you can make more per acre growing biofuel with less fuss.

Voting out the subsidies is the only way to decrease the use of ethanol for fuel. It's not an efficient or cheap source of fuel, but the government pays for it and corn is easy to grow. Roughly 40% of all US corn goes to biofuel production. The percentage might max out, but the total amounts will increase until we stop paying more than it's worth.


flapjaxrfun t1_j0g5l7w wrote

I'd love it if we stopped trying to grow avocados in the desert


Bukra t1_j0gnh2w wrote

While I think this is great, I am concerned that current industry will lobby Washington to protect its interests… and they will be successful.


Isaac4777 t1_j0ge2ur wrote

What will happen to the 80% of farmers? Pay them to not farm on their land? Tell them to put wind farms over their fields? This is a massive economic problem.. and I don't know of many good solutions or incentives.


Jonathank92 t1_j0gj3d6 wrote

Government buyout of their land for conservation, programs to train them in other trades, etc. government employs a lot of smart people. There are always options


growsomegarlic t1_j0h5rnw wrote

It's in the Government's best interest for farmers to stay right where they live and for them to keep their skills and farming equipment current so that we have a fallback plan in case we need it.


Jonathank92 t1_j0hokoq wrote

Not when farmers need to eat today. The world as a collective isn’t going to forget traditional farming methods overnight. If things change and we need to revert we can and will. When the government puts money and effort behind something the wheels get moving


Neil_Live-strong t1_j0ky7wo wrote

Yeah and if we needed to bring farmers back you can be sure a Bloomberg type would be involved and he knows how to farm, “you put seed in some dirt, give a little a water and there you go. I like people with a little more grey matter.” That would go very well and I’m sure there would be no famine like the dozens of other times people who knew nothing about farming tried to control it.


Lazy_Jellyfish7676 t1_j0hyqhg wrote

That would go well. No one would die I’m sure. Maybe your not from the United States. But here the people own land not the government.


wwwwolfe t1_j0iz3f3 wrote

I was taught in Real Estate class that the government DOES own the land in the United States. We, the People, only own the right to use it. And that right can be revoked at any time, through the process of condemnation. Typically, the government pays a fair market value (or usually, a bit more) for the land; but they don't really have to. The principles that are involved include "highest, best use of land" and Manifest Destiny. Private land ownership in the U.S. is simply a common misconception.


Narf234 t1_j0h2aoh wrote

It would be cool if we can pay them to regrow/ manage native plants.


jeffreynya t1_j0hrjhg wrote

that already happens. There is a program here in Minnesota that pays farmers the rent value of land per year to take it back to natural grass land. I don't have lots of details, but I think its a 15 year deal. But once its converted there is no cost to the farmers and they just collect a check.


thedriftlessdrifter t1_j0j2hv9 wrote

I'm excited with the research coming out on using animal impact to manage these acres, positive results with the majority of them. There's obviously sensitive landscapes that shouldn't be managed with animals but large portions should be for the biological health of the land.

They've seen what not doing anything with the land besides chemical and fire management does, those acres loose their "vigor" and the biological processes slow way down and the topsoils nutrients float away in the wind and water runoff.

Typically those programs are a "cost share" program and the landowner pays a fraction of the bill and the government pays the majority. MN has been experimenting with a "working lands program" for quite a few years now and is just getting some great scientific research behind it to back up the claims of "Regenerative Farming" .. exciting times.

Agroforestry & silvopasture, Holistic grazing, and no-till cereal grains are going to be hitting the mainstream sooner than later with the generous grant money from the last Farm Bill finally being able to get the scientific research behind it to track the benefits.


BafangFan t1_j0jj2jb wrote

But then you have all this tall grass that just grows and grows and grows. If only there were some autonomous..... animals that could cut the grass, keep it short, and fertilize it all at the same time....


ScottyC33 t1_j0h257e wrote

The same thing that happened to every other industry that was downsized or replaced by advancing technology. Nothing new or novel about an occupation changing.


xseiber t1_j0k3zoc wrote

Dang, if I learn anything it's that the future is unkind to the farming class/citizenry.


Artanthos t1_j0hdvrl wrote

Returning the land to nature would include returning the original inhabitants.

In North America that would mean replacing cattle with million strong herds of bison.

Ruminants converting grass into meat and methane does not change.


ShaunWhiteIsMyTwin t1_j0hs09p wrote

Bison are a keystone sources that have rebound effects beyond eating grass and farting.


Artanthos t1_j0iju68 wrote

I don't disagree.

But it's not as simple an equation as return everything to what it was and get rid of the cattle. Look, cattle are no longer producing methane.

You have to account for what was there before, which included large herds of bison.

To demonstrate the true reduction, you have to account for what takes the cattle's place.


jeffreynya t1_j0hrrl4 wrote

would love to see lots more bison running around.


Artanthos t1_j0n7jnd wrote

Bison ranches are gaining in popularity.


Full_Temperature_920 t1_j0hmwzl wrote

Unless you have stats and studies to show that the amount of methane bison produce would be on par with the amounts currently produced by the meat industry, shut the fuck up with your meaningless conjecture


Artanthos t1_j0hnfx2 wrote

Do you have studies accounting for the reintroduction of bison that show a reduction in methane from the proposed changes .

After all, the people advocating for how green cellular meat is are the ones pushing for change. It is incumbent on them to do comprehensive studies.


The_Mann_In_Black t1_j0ibdgs wrote

It is tough to study a wide ranging and dangerous animal such as bison. However, studies done on buffalo relative to cattle showed that on a similar diet they produced similar amounts of methane.

The two key differences between current production cattle and bison comes down to grazing and density differences. Nature does not naturally support the cattle density we have due to feedlots. Bison when grazing don’t chew grasses down as low as cattle, which is better for grassland ecosystems and bison roam further allowing land to rest.

If we replaced all cattle production with cellular ag and repopulated bison it would be better for ecosystems and methane emissions.

The reality is that ability to actually do this is decades upon decades away and will be very costly.


FuturologyBot t1_j0g6wi6 wrote

The following submission statement was provided by /u/DannyMcDanface1:

Submission statement

With cellular agriculture and precision fermentation on the brink of becoming mainstream it really does seem like we are at the start of a food production revolution. Being able to produce the foods we love using a fraction of the land would allow us to rewild and restore habitats that have been lost to farming. If this technology can undercut the price of conventional meat and dairy it will be a win for both the environment and farm animals.

Please reply to OP's comment here:


Snufflepuffster t1_j0hsxbf wrote

everything we do in agriculture is very inefficient because we are basically bootstrapping off nature. If we could isolate only the processes that are of interest to us for food production, the savings would be immense!


michigician t1_j0ih4i9 wrote

What will this do to the value of land on the Great Plains?


Mnemnosine t1_j0ivwiy wrote

So are we going to allow farm animals to go extinct then? They can’t be released back to the wild.


wootr68 t1_j0kpww2 wrote

Maybe we let the remaining live out their lives in pastures. Sexes segregated.


guidospeedmeister t1_j0jue9d wrote

X dddddddddddddddddd ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddź


Winter_Criticism_236 t1_j0jxepy wrote

The 1st graph showing ship using most of the land may be accurate but most of that land is only good for sheep.. no chance of growing wheat etc on it.


grambell789 t1_j0ualug wrote

the land won't get returned to nature. the pro population people will just say, yay earth can support 5x more people.


sleeze02 t1_j0i0bus wrote

I don’t think we should give nature back that land. Like tigers and bears and stuff will be there and get us


Fit_Manufacturer_444 t1_j0uxpal wrote

Extremely simplistic and idiotic take on a advanced topic


sleeze02 t1_j0va122 wrote

You’re the first one that will be eaten by the animals


Fit_Manufacturer_444 t1_j0vaip0 wrote

If the land is given back, it will be urbanized or turnt into infrastructure of some kind. Highly unlikely anyone will be eaten or be worrying about animals, especially if we are making them go extinct


sleeze02 t1_j0vbhi8 wrote

And then….. upon your day of reckoning; after the bears and the wolves have eaten most of your body the vultures will also feast upon the remains of your body… and soul. Forever sending your ethereal form into the shadowy depths of hades…


Rad_Dad6969 t1_j0hbjcn wrote

"Back to nature, that's just another term for letting the immigrants take over" - the inevitably successful campaign to outlaw a smart solution in favor of cheaper unsustainability.