Silicon Valley and Food


Kinda slammed Soylent

Mike Elgan
Shared publicly - 10:43 AM Silicon Valley has plans for your food. Will you eat it?

The Financial Times’ Tim Bradshaw wrote an epic piece on Silicon
Valley’s newfound goal to disrupt the food industry with high-tech

But will you buy meat made out of veggies, meat grown in a lab or liquid “food” with no flavor?

(Go to 19:43 in in the video to skip to the food stuff.)


It’s the same thing over and over and over, namely there are some people that for whatever reason just get really, really angry when others don’t take enjoyment from the same thing they do. They are into food and they simply can’t stand it when others don’t feel the same way.

It reminds me of how old people of whatever generation say that the crazy music these kids listen to nowadays is garbage. For some reason they just can’t bring themselves to say, it’s not for me but if others like it then fine.


I would think it would be something dieters or vegans would like. I personally wouldn’t mind trying a veggie burger that actually tasted like meat.

As for meat made in a lab, if it’s chemically the same exact thing then that seems pretty awesome… but kinda creepy, too.

And people will always love flavor… even those that find food to be a chore love eating something. I really don’t understand this irrational fear of Soylent and other powdered foods. It’s merely an option. I just can’t really wrap my head around the fear they have for DIY. Do they believe that in the future brownies and fried chicken will be no more or something?


Interesting but it’s loaded with subtext that is critical of the topics discussed. It comes across as little more than a dramatic hack job.

Plus, I question the authority-base of a reporter from “The Financial Times” to discuss the food industry (outside of the financial implications therein.)

The concluding statements regarding the potential positive impact to the environment from some of the discussed food manufacturers was probably the best part of the entire interview. (But again, it’s a pretty flimsy position without sources.)


My girlfriend eats vegiburgers all the time. I don’t know how she does it :smile:

Tim Bradshaw didn’t really attack Soylent so much as mention it in passing (although his expressions could of levled a few small towns). It’s the other two that really went after it, the host in particular. I found it amusing he had no problems with egg free mayo but was all up in arms about Soylent.


I thought of this thread when I happened on an essay, in discussion of Gamergate, about “taste privilege”.

Professor Jason Mittell defines his idea thusly:

There are many different ways to define and conceptualize privilege, but one that makes sense for me (as a person of privilege) is that privilege is the freedom to not notice difference. In most contexts, I’m perfectly able to imagine that my experiences are shared, commonplace norms, rather than defined by my identity in ways that other people would experience differently. There is rarely a consequence for me to assume that other people see the world as I do, sharing the same access, rights, and freedoms. Basically, privilege is the freedom to ignore your own privilege.

I’m in most ways a person of privilege too, and this definition makes sense to me. In his essay, he’s talking about how gamers who feel at home with games designed for white, nerdy, middle-class males (some but not all of which I am) feel threatened when people want games more to the interest of, say, women–not in exclusion to their favored games, but because it challenges the idea that their shared norms are the singular way things should be.

Similarly, we’re not trying to take the food experience away from foodies, when we say we either don’t always want or have various problems attaining that experience themselves. But just our saying that we don’t share their “taste privilege” makes some of them feel that we’re threatening it.

I’m sure eventually everyone will get that it’s a great big diverse world!


This is more or less the reaction my wife has to the notion of Soylent. She finds it incomprehensible that I do not enjoy food and depressing to think that I could sustain myself off “a shake.” Because we have a good dialog, we’re able to avoid the rhetoric and get down to it being about convenience and eating healthy-- so she’s entirely fine with me doing this for my solo meals-- but she also really looks forward to a shared dinner and gets a bit depressed if my choice to have DIY Soylent results in her not being able to enjoy a home cooked meal (because making a home cooked meal for one is more difficult, I guess.)

We don’t eat dinner together every night, but do most nights-- which is why I typically sit at 60-80% DIY Soylent consumption (per week.)


It’s understandable that she enjoys spending a meal with you, and nice that you’re able to compromise. At least she doesn’t think that your having a “shake” when you’re eating alone threatens all her meals.


Sigh. Why does ANYONE give a shit what I eat or don’t eat - or why. That’s the part that has totally stumped me for as long as I’ve been on this little blue rock.


Possibly Prof. Mittell’s essay will shed light on that for you. But you may still be stumped–it’s the kind of attitude you don’t analyze when you have it, and don’t get when you don’t have it.