"I do think all rich countries should move to 100 percent synthetic beef."

Got Beef

During the 1990s, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates picked up a bad boy reputation for taking a hard line in the company's antitrust spat with the United States government.

But for decades since stepping away from the software giant, Gates has rebranded as a philanthropist and policy advocate for humanitarian and policy issues including public health, climate change, and hunger.

Now, in an electrifying interview with MIT Tech Review that touches on all those initiatives and more, Gates is coming down hard in favor of fake meats — and even recommending that every single "rich country" on Earth move away from real beef as soon as possible.

Meat and Greet

Gates said that what he called the "80 poorest countries" will still be eating actual cows for a while. But he's optimistic about the developed world's path to fake meat.

"I do think all rich countries should move to 100 percent synthetic beef," the billionaire told MIT Tech.  "You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they’re going to make it taste even better over time."

Cell Division

Interestingly, Gates said he's optimistic that plant-based beef replacements can replace meat from actual cattle without lab-grown meat taking over the market. To underscore the point, he slammed Memphis Meats — a lab meat company that he has himself invested in — and praised a pair of plant-based competitors with which he also has had financial relationships.

"Now the people like Memphis Meats who do it at a cellular level — I don’t know that that will ever be economical," he said in theMIT Tech interview. "But Impossible and Beyond have a road map, a quality road map and a cost road map, that makes them totally competitive."

Of course, Gates is an influential thinker and policy shaper — but take it all with a grain of salt. After all, this is the guy who thought Internet Explorer was going to dominate the browser market.

READ MORE: Bill Gates: Rich nations should shift entirely to synthetic beef [MIT Tech]

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