The Wonder, August 10 - Clean Meat, Grocery Robots and Voting By Phone

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A Weekly Snapshot of Life-Changing Technology

Happy Friday!

Chipotle will start testing bacon in September, along with a few other menu innovations. We’ve been testing bacon for years and it always passes.

You know what else always passes? This week’s edition of The Wonder.

Clean Meat

Israeli startup Future Meat Technologies plans to start selling its ‘clean meat’ (meat produced from animal cells in a lab without an actual animal) by the end of this year. A recent survey suggests most Americans will happily eat it.

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Andrew’s Take: There are nearly half a billion vegetarians in the world. Some are motivated by the negative environmental impact of meat production. Others are driven to protest by the poor conditions in which animals are farmed. All of them can benefit from this.     

Darius’s Take: I tend to favor food that is as close to its natural state as possible, but it’s clear we are moving to an era where we create synthetic body parts, so why not synthetic food? It will reduce the harms associated with growing livestock, it will be easier to control the health standards, and (eventually) it will be easier to produce at scale.

Grocery Robots

Walmart will begin piloting robots for their fast-growing online grocery pickup.

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Andrew’s Take: They are the largest seller of groceries in the world, though Amazon will catch up. When they do something, it deserves attention. And it makes perfect sense – time is money, and who really wants to spend time at the grocery store?

Darius’s Take: Picking produce feels like it requires a human touch, but if these robots prove to be as good at picking healthy produce from a bunch as humans are, then why not?

Voting By Phone

West Virginia is set to introduce mobile phone voting for the midterm elections. Voters will use an app with facial recognition software to verify their identity.

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Andrew’s Take: Democracy depends on voter turnout. Easier voting means more voter turnout. Yes, there are security concerns that need to be addressed, but that shouldn’t get in the way of common sense product evolution.

Darius’s Take: Mobile phone voting, from a technological perspective, is long overdue. But given the current political landscape in which the risk of hacking is high and the voting system is not fully trusted by the public, one can but wonder if this is happening a bit too soon.

An 18-year-old climate warrior...

Meet Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, the teenager who sued the president and the state of Colorado for damages caused by climate change.

Thanks for reading! We’ll see you next week.

-Andrew and Darius