The man who helped to bring us a global index of everything, computer glasses, and self-driving cars now also hopes to change the very biological future of humanity by backing lab-grown beef. In a new video, Google co-founder Sergey Brin joins several scientists and experts to explain the reasoning behind a new project looking to make artificially-made beef a common component of our diets.
According to a report in the Guardian, Brin has invested about $331,000 in a project, led by Maastricht University professor Mark Post, to create edible lab-grown meat. As part of the proof of concept, the team planned to live stream an event showing one of its lab-grown burgers being cooked and eaten in London today. In a video posted to help bring attention to the event, Brin, wearing his now signature Glass device, said:
"It's really just proof of concept right now, we're trying to create the first cultured beef hamburger. From there I'm optimistic that we can really scale by leaps and bounds."
The implications for this development are stunning on their own, from solving a major food supply issue to changing the way many animals are treated. But for one moment, let's also recognize that Brin, via Google search, Glass, self-driving cars, and now lab-grown beef, is essentially attempting to reshape the reality of the entire planet. And he doesn't appear to be failing.
Whether this prospect is scary or inspirational likely depends upon your perspective. And for those really keeping an eye on all the possibilities here, it should be remembered that Brin is married to Anne Wojcicki, the founder of 23andMe, a company devoted to genetic testing, allowing anyone to map their genetic code and discover facts about their ancestry or propensity for certain diseases.
So on one level, Brin's support for this lab-grown meat is indeed exciting and perhaps even beneficial to humanity. But on a larger scale, it points to the tech founder's vision that may impact the world for hundreds of years to come. One quote from Brin in the video is particularly telling and may come to be his signature phrase as his experimental endeavors continue. Brin said, "Some people think this is science fiction…I actually think that's a good thing. If what you're doing is not seen by some people as science fiction it's probably not transformative enough." (Bolded for emphasis.)