The future of food, experts predict how our plates will change

October 9, 2014

Ray Kurzweil | The next major food revolution will be vertical agriculture, in which we grow food in AI controlled vertical buildings rather than horizontal land: hydroponic plants for fruits and vegetables and in vitro cloned meat. Benefits will be profound:

1. Today over one third of usable land is devoted to agriculture, 70% of which is for animals for meat production. Vertical agriculture will free up almost all of this.

2. Agriculture is today a major contributor to pollution of all kinds including 50 percent of antibiotic usage, one third of freshwater pollution with nitrogen and phosphorus, and almost all pesticide use. Vertical agriculture will be able to recycle all nutrients, capture all pollutants, and require no use of antibiotics and pesticides.

3. Costs will be subject to my law of accelerating returns which is an exponential improvement in the price-performance of information technology, leading to very low food costs.

4. Production will be decentralized allowing food to be produced near to the location of consumption.

5. Food can be healthier, for example meats with anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats replacing saturated fats.

6. The massive animal cruelty of today’s factory animal farming will be eliminated.

The 2020’s will be the decade of the vertical agriculture revolution. Ray Kurzweil is an inventor, author and futurist, and a Director of Engineering at Google.