Armed with hefty grants from the Pentagon, squads of food technologists are on a mission to supplant nature with a great leap forward into the Brave New World of synthetic foodstuffs.

Not satisfied merely to tinker with the genetic makeup of nature’s products, these mad scientists have a God-like goal of “creating” new food.

Well, that’s assuming God’s a supernatural robotic being with a wicked sense of humor and not enough real work to do.

Who will eat the stuff? Soldiers are the first lucky consumers.

Lauren Oleksyk, team leader of this operation at the U.S. Army’s Natick Soldier Research Center, explains that troops will be outfitted head-to-toe with electronic sensors to constantly monitor their levels of essential nutrients.

3D Printing

A. Buser/Flickr

Low on potassium? No problem.

“We envision to have a 3-D printer that is interfaced with the soldier,” says Oleksyk. “Then they would be able to have either powdered or liquid matrices [printed out] on demand that they can take and eat immediately to fill that need.”

Yes, a potassium patty! It’s synthesized on the spot from various oils and powders, and “printed out” as a sort of food-like edible. Yum!

Well, not really, for taste and texture are still too futuristic for this technology. Yet instantly printed food is upon us — and it’s an ungodly high-tech hallelujah moment.

These tech deities are targeting soldiers first, but we’ll be next. With world population exploding and climate change endangering old-fashioned agriculture, printed-out nutrition could be our future.

As one of the corporate engineers rather ominously put it: “We eventually have to change our perception of what food is.”

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Jim Hightower

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower

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