Moral quandaries are mere gaps in technology. Before, people didn’t even know that they could want a thing. After, it’s unnecessary or taken for granted. It’s only in between that people argue with themselves.
In the days of the caves people were hungry and hacked animals into delicious stips. The only worry involved in eating animals was making sure that they didn’t do the same to us. In the present we luxuriate in enough wealth to wonder whether we wouldn’t feel better about a traffic light diet, stopping all the red and only going on green dead things. And if we survive into the future technology will solve that problem too.
We’ve already got 3D flesh printers and embryonic stem cells. If we make it far enough we’ll have fusion-powered factories capable of turning energy directly into anything we need, and we’ll use it for flesh, just like we built a global supercomputer information network and used that for flesh.
This isn’t luxury: the primary problem for a population which refuses to compensate for a lack of predators is food supply. Our advantage is how we straddle such ridiculously mismatched energy levels. At the same time our bodies are scraping a few kilocalories from a slurry of pink slime, our buildings are pumping out megawatts of energy, while our brains are working out to replicate the sun itself. Right now the only connection between our bellies and fusion is the plant life, an immense chlorophyllic converter. It’s only a matter of time until we build a better one.
We could replace our digestive systems with an internal reprocessor to electrically undo all our metabolic waste, turning us into closed systems immune to hunger and thirst as we endlessly recycle our organic material. In the same we could use the internet for nothing but the broadcast of simple government instructions to optimize population work-efficiency. That is to say, bollocks to that.
We’ll be able to eat anything. When energy is the only input to our nanostructuring engines, we can program whatever we want instead of killing it. An initial flurry of poached panda, fried eagle, dolphin drizzled in reduction of white truffle. The inevitable attempts to be edgy by eating human flesh, upping the ante by cloning specific people, then a burst of baiting headlines wondering if hitlerflesh is kosher (only part of another iteration of “should we update our obsolete anathemas in the face of updated technology this time?”). Scraping some samples of fossilized dodo in a desperate attempt to generate a new product. Jurassic Burger doing reasonably well despite the impossibility of them having recovered any organic samples to work with.
And once we get that out of our systems, we’ll be able to have some real fun. Designer meats! Novel protein chains designed entirely for the ingester instead of the owner. Sacroplasmics structured for savour, myofibrillars made for maximum maceration sensation, collagen constructed for full-bodied texture and perfectly interspersed between fibres which will only ever experience muscle motion when they undergo peristalsis. It’ll make Wagyu Kobe beef look like frozen fish fingers.
We’ll eat all the organs of our imagination. The tongue-glorying granularity of high-gravity whale liver. The perfect chew of zero-gravity bird heart. Weekly updates of new designer flesh, freed from the restriction of waiting for our ecosystem-chef to evolve new menu items. The top rated designload on meatr by CrizzpyMan420. An ever-exanding feedback between cooking techniques and newly-specified materials. And everyone will be able to eat all of it.
(Which won’t stop some people from inventing reasons to object, as they always do, but as long as they enjoy objecting then the technology is helping them have a good time too.)
The future: it’s going to be delicious.