What will we eat?

Automated micro-farms will provide on-demand food for individual neighbourhoods with 99% less water and energy, uniquely tailored to each individual’s personal health and lifestyle.

70% more calories need to be produced in order to feed the 2050 global population. More extreme weather events and reduced natural resources will make our food supply unsustainable. We need to radically rethink food production in order to meet this demand. The second section of the exhibition imagines a future where the UAE has developed new solutions to food shortages.

AutoFarm

AutoFarm is an automated food production factory that grows fresh food in the basement of your home, office, or neighbourhood. AutoFarms are 100% programmable and robotic, growing personalised food that used 99% less water and is 100 times healthier and more nutritious.

AutoFarm

AutoFarm is an automated food production factory that grows fresh food in the basement of your home, office, or neighbourhood. AutoFarms are 100% programmable and robotic, growing personalised food that used 99% less water and is 100 times healthier and more nutritious.

DNA Seed Printer

A “Predictive agriculture” system can guess what you will want to eat 6 to 8 weeks in advance, creating a personalised plant grown just for you. This optimises the nutritional content, physical qualities and growth behaviour of plants while growing only what you need and want. 100% tastier, 100% nutritious, and 100% personal with 0% food waste.

DNA Seed Printer

A “Predictive agriculture” system can guess what you will want to eat 6 to 8 weeks in advance, creating a personalised plant grown just for you. This optimises the nutritional content, physical qualities and growth behaviour of plants while growing only what you need and want. 100% tastier, 100% nutritious, and 100% personal with 0% food waste.

A.I. Farmers

AutoFarm’s super-efficient A.I. system maintains a well-balanced ecosystem by constantly monitoring and adjusting temperature, light, water, CO2, acidity and DNA-specific levels of nutrition, using 99% less water and energy than traditional agriculture.

A.I. Farmers

AutoFarm’s super-efficient A.I. system maintains a well-balanced ecosystem by constantly monitoring and adjusting temperature, light, water, CO2, acidity and DNA-specific levels of nutrition, using 99% less water and energy than traditional agriculture.

New Proteins

The AutoFarm also uses advanced micro-ecologies to grow fish, insects and plants in perfect harmony. Insects provide new sources of protein, while lab-grown fish balance your diet without any methane, pesticides, or fertiliser run-off.

New Proteins

The AutoFarm also uses advanced micro-ecologies to grow fish, insects and plants in perfect harmony. Insects provide new sources of protein, while lab-grown fish balance your diet without any methane, pesticides, or fertiliser run-off.

Food Bot

These robots harvest food at just the right time, then prepare the ingredients for delivery to your kitchen via ground-based delivery robots for the freshest, tastiest meals you can imagine.

Food Bot

These robots harvest food at just the right time, then prepare the ingredients for delivery to your kitchen via ground-based delivery robots for the freshest, tastiest meals you can imagine.

Molecular Tasting Menus

Each item the Food Bot creates is designed down to the last molecule for a super nutritious and an unforgettable taste experience. Create new recipes, new mixes, and new flavours at the touch of a button, or let the FoodNet AI surprise and delight you!

Molecular Tasting Menus

Each item the Food Bot creates is designed down to the last molecule for a super nutritious and an unforgettable taste experience. Create new recipes, new mixes, and new flavours at the touch of a button, or let the FoodNet AI surprise and delight you!

FoodNet AI’s

AutoFarms are also integrated into a local food network run by a “FoodNet AI”, a machine learning system that collects and synthesises detailed data about your food preference and health needs.  This allows it to suggest meals that are both good for the planet and good for your body without sacrificing taste, flavour, or dining experience.

FoodNet AI’s

AutoFarms are also integrated into a local food network run by a “FoodNet AI”, a machine learning system that collects and synthesises detailed data about your food preference and health needs.  This allows it to suggest meals that are both good for the planet and good for your body without sacrificing taste, flavour, or dining experience.

Research behind the exhibit

The UAE currently imports 85% of its food. National food imports are expected to rise from $100 billion in 2014 to $400 billion in a decade’s time. Food production around the world strains under increasing demands for nutritious and flavourful food, particularly for meat and dairy. Deforestation in the Amazon – which declined in recent decades after new regulation in beef and soy markets – could be increasing again.

Fifty years ago, 2,300 calories per person per day were available for human consumption. But at the same time more than half the people in developing countries suffered from chronic undernutrition. 3,000 calories per person per day are sufficient for a balanced diet. This is because some crops are reused as animal rather than human food, as well as taking into account average food waste between farm and kitchen.

The world population has since more than doubled. Agricultural production increased even faster. There is now over 2,700 calories per person per day with 20% undernutrition in developing countries. (Online maps illustrate these changes over time.) To reach 3,000 calories per person per day, there will need to be 70% more food produced annually by 2050.

Irrigation, fertilizer and pesticides increased yields for millions of farmers. But intensive agriculture brought with it chemical fertilisers. Other chemicals and energy-intensive cooling systems are required to keep food fresh while it is transported. Unripe food picked for transportation is often less nutritious.

The farm in the exhibit explores a future where nutritious food is grown locally, reducing strain on global supply chains and polluting, unsustainable agriculture.

The AutoFarm starts by taking information from users, including their medical profiles, calendar and dietary needs. This expands on IBM’s Cognitive Cooking program for its supercomputer Watson. But instead of you entering your preferences, the AutoFarm automatically analyses a wide range of data. This would mean it is able It is able to accurately forecast flavour and nutrition demands. It is also able to use information from the Integrated Neighbourhood Growing database before food production has begun.

To meet these demands with a small scale urban farm, there would need to be smart systems – A.I. Tenders – that make sure that a farm serving 300 people uses the minimum energy and water. There are also projects that produce self-sustaining farming units in the desert, using renewable energy and seawater cooling systems. Close monitoring and indoor farming hugely reduces pesticide use. Some of these precision agriculture techniques are already available for outdoor farms.

By 2050, new urban spaces are potentially available in previously densely populated areas. Autonomous vehicles and improving public transport could make some of today’s roads unnecessary. These prime locations could be used to put food production next to consumers, making many preservatives unnecessary.

The Seed Printers would locally manufacture seeds, brings the carbon footprint down further. Synthetic Biology promises genetic manipulation techniques that can build bespoke variations rather than mixing together existing strains. These techniques are already used to create synthetic vanilla flavour.

What and when people choose to eat is sometimes more to do with the enjoyment of eating than keeping a healthy diet. The growth in companies – from Blue Apron to Abel and Cole – that deliver high quality ingredients shows that many people will choose to cook even if prepared food is available for a similar price. The Food Bots in the exhibit work with customers to understand how they want to eat, customising the service and reducing food waste in the process.

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