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Bill Gates: AI Will Allow Us To Genetically Modify Beef Cows To Fight Climate Change


The Microsoft founder believes AI will help revolutionize the way we eat

In a recent episode of his podcast “Unconfuse Me With Bill Gates,” the Microsoft founder offered the prediction that AI would have a clear role to play in fighting climate change. This could include genetically modifying cows to produce less methane or to produce “meat without the cow.”

Gates was speaking to Hannah Ritchie, a data scientist and researcher at the University of Oxford, when he made the bold prediction about AI’s potential role in fighting climate change.

In doing so, he expressed his astonishment at the speed of AI advancement.

“I was very stunned how the AIs went from basically not being able to read or write at all, to doing that in a very facile way.”

Ritchie sounded a less optimistic note about the future of food technology, pointing to the difficulties currently being faced by advocates of plant-based diets as they try to convince others to change their food-consumption habits.

A few years ago, a study from Australia showed that 73% of men would rather lose ten years of their lives than give up meat. Manufacturers of plant-based “meats” like Beyond and Impossible continue to suffer drastic setbacks in their aim to replace traditional meat products, as sales continue to fall.

The hype behind so-called “lab-grown meat” has also largely evaporated. A recent New York Times opinion piece called it “the revolution that died on its way to dinner.” A series of unfavourable revelations about the companies producing lab-grown meat, such as Josh Tetrick’s GOOD Meat, revised assessments of its environmental benefits—little to none, with the possibility that it may even be more harmful for the environment than real meat—and the threat of product bans in states including Florida, have left lab-grown meat producers and advocates in an unenviable position.

Bill Gates is well known for his pronouncements on the future of food. He has used his podcast to talk about his vision for an environmentally friendly

In an episode last year, for example, he noted the difficulties of informing people about the true cost of traditional agriculture, especially livestock grazing.

“Of all the climate areas, the one that people are probably least aware of is all the fertiliser and cows, and that’s a challenge.”

Despite these difficulties, Gates expressed his hope for real change, and his role in driving it.

“Something told me plant-based is going to be the future… and I want to be the person that plants the seed.” 

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