Dubai: The world should be eating fewer animal products and more lab-grown burgers to combat climate change, food insecurity and simultaneously improve public health, according to world-renowned futurist Dr Jamie Metzle.
Some of the world’s biggest challenges can be addressed with a razor-sharp focus on new technologies such as synthetic biology, Metzl, founder and chair, OneShared.World, said during the second day of the Dubai Future Forum 2022.
“We live in a world that exists the way it does because of agriculture. But we’re going to have 10 billion people on the planet by 2050 and if we continue as we are now, we’re going to need 70 percent more arable land. We do not have that amount and a lot of arable land is becoming less arable because of climate change. How can we wisely use the tools of biotechnology so people can live fulfilled, safe lives?” Dr. Metzl asked.
70 billion animals
With around 70 billion animals slaughtered each year for food, Dr. Metzl said “we should all be eating fewer animal products”. He added: “If we are treating them like a means to an end of our nutrition, wouldn’t it be better instead of growing the animal, to grow the meat? The first cell-cultured burger cost about USD 330,000, you can now get one for about USD 10.”
Opening the second day of the world’s largest futurist gathering with a session titled ‘Can We Predict the Future of Our Species?’ Dr. Metzl told delegates to harness new technologies with wisdom and humility.
The issue of Pyrrhic victory
A “super-convergence of technology” is “being unleashed and manifested in super-enabling technologies” he said, adding: “The determinant of whether we have a better story, or a worse story is not technology – it is us. We need not just to imagine the kind of future we would like to inhabit but roll up our sleeves and do the hard work to build it.”
“If we do not address the meta problem then it will not matter. Solve a pandemic but not climate change, it is a Pyrrhic victory. Solve climate change but not nuclear arms, it is a Pyrrhic victory. We need a systems upgrade.” A Pyrrhic victory is a success that comes with great losses or unacceptable costs.
Following the session, Dr. Metzl met with fans for a signing of his book, Hacking Darwin.
The two-day Dubai Future Forum 2022 at Dubai’s Museum of the Future is the world’s largest global gathering of futurists. It is hosting more than 70 speakers, 45 global institutions, and more than 400 international participants including technology experts, scientists, innovators, and specialists in various high-skilled fields to exchange knowledge and create a global platform on which to discuss and debate the future.