It’s funny how I read article after article (the last one in German) about Soylent and every one of them goes into full-blown panic mode in the second half: OMG, it’s going to destroy all our food, we’re going to be forced to drink this, this isn’t fun, what’s with the cultural heritage of preparing and eating food – alone and in a social setting?
What they all forget is that only in very rare cases new inventions will completely replace the things that came before.
More often, new niches will be found, and the new and previous inventions will peacefully co-exist in their respective settings where they excel.
Look at media history: there are people that will tell you that television and/or the internet completely eclipsed previous media. But we still have radio (said to be extinguished by television). We still have books, printed on paper (said to be extinguished by e-books and e-readers, and before that by radio. And then television). We still have theatre (said to be extinguished by radio and television and films).
All of these things still exist – because they have their use cases, where they are brilliant in what they’re doing.
The same will happen with Soylent. I’m absolutely looking forward to trying it, because I know exactly when it will be useful: when it’s crunch time, I have a project to finish and still an avalanche of work to do and with no time to cook. This is exactly when I’ll use Soylent. This is also exactly the use it was invented for.
Does it mean I will stop cooking and having dinners with friends? Definitely not.
Soylent and elaborate cooking sessions with friends are not mutually exclusive. The can co-exist, side by side, as needed and as the mood strikes.
So, dear journalists: calm down. Everything will be okay.
… and the next article, in German from Watson