11. Clean meat

This page contains the opening portion of Chapter 11 of RAFT 2035.

Copyright © 2020 David W. Wood. All rights reserved.

11. Clean meat

Goal 11 of RAFT 2035 is that consumption of meat from slaughtered animals will be cut by at least 90%.


Substitutes for meat from slaughtered animals include classical vegetarian diets, plant-based meat alternatives with broadly similar taste and texture as meat, and what is known as “clean meat”, which is meat grown in laboratories from cultured cells using methods of biochemical engineering and synthetic biology.

Compared to existing meat sources, clean meat can, well before 2035, be healthier, tastier, better for the environment – by freeing up huge areas of land for other purposes – and can avoid the current situation of the mass slaughter of beings who possess at least some of the same characteristics of consciousness as humans.

Anticipating a change in public attitude

As technology provides a wider range of attractive substitutes, we can anticipate a growing change in public attitude. The writer Arwa Mahdawi has suggested that “Carnivores are going the way of cigarette smokers”:

By 2050, there’s a good chance that it will be socially unacceptable to eat meat. In the same way that we’re now horrified people used to smoke in offices and airplanes, we’ll find it almost unthinkable that people used to consume animals so casually and frequently.

RAFT anticipates that this change in attitude could take place faster – well before 2050.

Plant-based meat alternatives

Plant-based meat alternatives are already growing in number. They include products from, in no particular order:

  • Vivera – who state they are “Feeding the Goodness Revolution with the most delicious plant-based food”
  • The Fry Family Food Co – who encourage consumers to “Swap meat with 100% plant-based products”
  • Tofurky, with their plant-based burgers that are said to be not only “mouth-watering” but also “crazy good for the environment”
  • Oumph – who claim their products have a “completely unique structure and texture… unlike anything else from the plant kingdom”.

Other companies whose products contain plant-based meat alternatives, and which make broadly similar claims, include Linda McCartney Foods, Quorn, Gosh, Naturli, Iceland, Beyond Meat, Kellogg’s Incogmeato, and Impossible Foods – the creators of the “Impossible Burger” served in some Burger King restaurants.

However, these products, along with lab-grown clean meat, presently face a number of challenges:

  • Their taste and texture is felt by many to compare poorly to that of “real” meat
  • The cost of lab-grown clean meat remains high
  • There are no processes in place, yet, for larger-scale production of lab-grown meat.

More benefits ahead

Considerable research and development is now underway to address the challenges faced by clean meat.


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RAFT 2035 – a new initiative for a new decade

The need for a better politics is more pressing than ever.

Since its formation, Transpolitica has run a number of different projects aimed at building momentum behind a technoprogressive vision for a better politics. For a new decade, it’s time to take a different approach, to build on previous initiatives.

The planned new vehicle has the name “RAFT 2035”.

RAFT is an acronym:

  • Roadmap (‘R’) – not just a lofty aspiration, but specific steps and interim targets
  • towards Abundance (‘A’) for all – beyond a world of scarcity and conflict
  • enabling Flourishing (‘F’) as never before – with life containing not just possessions, but enriched experiences, creativity, and meaning
  • via Transcendence (‘T’) – since we won’t be able to make progress by staying as we are.

RAFT is also a metaphor. Here’s a copy of the explanation:

When turbulent waters are bearing down fast, it’s very helpful to have a sturdy raft at hand.

The fifteen years from 2020 to 2035 could be the most turbulent of human history. Revolutions are gathering pace in four overlapping fields of technology: nanotech, biotech, infotech, and cognotech, or NBIC for short. In combination, these NBIC revolutions offer enormous new possibilities – enormous opportunities and enormous risks:…

Rapid technological change tends to provoke a turbulent social reaction. Old certainties fade. New winners arrive on the scene, flaunting their power, and upturning previous networks of relationships. Within the general public, a sense of alienation and disruption mingles with a sense of profound possibility. Fear and hope jostle each other. Whilst some social metrics indicate major progress, others indicate major setbacks. The claim “You’ve never had it so good” coexists with the counterclaim “It’s going to be worse than ever”. To add to the bewilderment, there seems to be lots of evidence confirming both views.

The greater the pace of change, the more intense the dislocation. Due to the increased scale, speed, and global nature of the ongoing NBIC revolutions, the disruptions that followed in the wake of previous industrial revolutions – seismic though they were – are likely to be dwarfed in comparison to what lies ahead.

Turbulent times require a space for shelter and reflection, clear navigational vision despite the mists of uncertainty, and a powerful engine for us to pursue our own direction, rather than just being carried along by forces outside our control. In short, turbulent times require a powerful “raft” – a roadmap to a future in which the extraordinary powers latent in NBIC technologies are used to raise humanity to new levels of flourishing, rather than driving us over some dreadful precipice.

The words just quoted come from the opening page of a short book that is envisioned to be published in January 2020. The chapters of this book are reworked versions of the scripts used in the recent “Technoprogressive roadmap” series of videos.

Over the next couple of weeks, all the chapters of this proposed book will be made available for review and comment:

  • As pages on the Transpolitica website, starting here
  • As shared Google documents, starting here, where comments and suggestions are welcome.

RAFT Cover 21

All being well, RAFT 2035 will also become a conference, held sometime around the middle of 2020.

You may note that, in that way that RAFT 2035 is presented to the world,

  • The word “transhumanist” has moved into the background – since that word tends to provoke many hostile reactions
  • The word “technoprogressive” also takes a backseat – since, again, that word has negative connotations in at least some circles.

If you like the basic idea of what’s being proposed, here’s how you can help:

  • Read some of the content that is already available, and provide comments
    • If you notice something that seems mistaken, or difficult to understand
    • If you think there is a gap that should be addressed
    • If you think there’s a better way to express something.

Thanks in anticipation!

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