Picture of a package of lab-grown meat
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Lab-grown meat is definitely going to be a thing

Understanding the exponentials of food

Kaila Colbin
8 min readSep 15, 2021


I will explain why lab-grown meat is going to be a thing, I promise. But it may be a bit of a wander. Ready? Let’s go.

Part I: The Underlying Phenomenon

The first name that typically comes up when someone hears about exponential technologies is Gordon Moore.

In 1965, Moore, one of the co-founders of Intel, made the observation that the number of transistors we could fit on an integrated circuit had been doubling every 18 months or so¹. He also made a prediction: that the number would continue to double, as far forward as we could see.

That prediction — you may have heard of it — is now famously known as “Moore’s Law,” and it’s still going strong:

Chart showing the incredible consistency of Moore’s Law since 1970.

But there’s a a fun fact you may not know about Moore’s Law.

Gordon Moore based his prediction on a dataset of…

…wait for it…


He had just four data points, and from them generated his entire hypothesis.

This “law,” this self-fulfilling prophecy that has guided the entire computer industry for more than 50 years, was, as Moore called it, a “wild extrapolation.”

But then Ray Kurzweil came along. An inventor and futurist, Kurzweil asked an important question: What if, instead of looking at the number of transistors we can fit on an integrated circuit, we look instead at what we might call the price-performance of computing?

The specific question Kurzweil asked was this: How many instructions per second can you buy for $1,000?

It may seem like an arbitrary distinction, but it’s an important one. Where Moore was asking an engineering question, Kurzweil had gone up a level of abstraction — and, in doing so, allowed us to see the underlying phenomenon.

As it turns out, the answer to Kurzweil’s question is a number that has been doubling for over 120 years.



Kaila Colbin

Founder/CEO Boma. Dual citizen USA/NZ. Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator. Just wants the world to be a better place.