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Why Silicon Valley’s Optimization Mindset Sets Us Up for Failure

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In 2013 a Silicon Valley software engineer decided that food is an inconvenience—a pain point in a busy life. Buying food, preparing it, and cleaning up afterward struck him as an inefficient way to feed himself. And so was born the idea of Soylent, Rob Rhinehart’s meal replacement powder, described on its website as an International Complete Nutrition Platform. Soylent is the logical result of an engineer’s approach to the “problem” of feeding oneself with food: there must be a more optimal solution.

It’s not hard to sense the trouble with this crushingly instrumental approach to nutrition.

Soylent may optimize meeting one’s daily nutritional needs with minimal cost and time investment. But for most people, food is not just a delivery mechanism for one’s nutritional requirements. It brings gustatory pleasure. It provides for social connections. It sustains and transmits cultural identity. A world in which Soylent spells the end of food also spells the degradation of these values.

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Signage is displayed in front of a building on the Google campus in Mountain View, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. The U.S. Justice Department sued Alphabet Inc.'s Google in the most significant antitrust case against an American company in two decades, kicking off what promises to be a volley of legal actions against the search giant for allegedly abusing its market power.

Signage is displayed in front of a building on the Google campus in Mountain View, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. The U.S. Justice Department sued Alphabet Inc.’s Google in the most significant antitrust case against an American company in two decades, kicking off what promises to be a volley of legal actions against the search giant for allegedly abusing its market power.
David Paul Morris-Bloomberg

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Click the link below for the article:

https://time.com/6096754/silicon-valley-optimization-mindset/?utm_source=pocket_discover

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