We'll all eat crickets in 20 years, says Cisco's Chambers
The outgoing Cisco executive says clean, cheap insects will be our top protein source.
Stephen ShanklandFormer Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
ExpertiseProcessors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, science.Credentials
Shankland covered the tech industry for more than 25 years and was a science writer for five years before that. He has deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and more.
Hungry? Better get used to eating bugs, the outgoing leader of tech giant
"The primary source of protein you will be having within your life, definitely within 20 years and maybe within 15, will be insects," said
, speaking at Half Moon Bay at the Techonomy conference. They're "the cleanest form you can produce at least challenge to the environment."
In particular, he thinks eating crickets is the cat's pajamas. That view aligns well with companies like Aspire Food Group, which grows crickets for human consumption, and many cultures in Asia, Africa and Latin America. So perhaps you'd better embrace an insectivorous diet.
Growing crickets is a high-tech operation, he says, with
able to help crickets grow 50 percent bigger in a third the time as usual, he said.
Watch this: Whole roasted crickets infest snack time
Chambers likes the prospects of Aspire Food Group, based in Austin, Texas, and says cricket food is ready now. He's also an investor in the food company and mentor to CEO Mohammed Ashour, a spokesman for Aspire confirmed.
You won't necessarily know you're eating leggy little arthropods, though, since they can be ground up and added into other foods. He just had a seven-course dinner at a San Francisco restaurant, Saison, with crickets infused into biscuits, desserts and even a margarita.
Chambers likes startups, but he's worried about them in the United States. France and China are doing a better job encouraging them and ensuring they're not isolated to urban coastal pockets.
"We've become the worst," Chambers said.
And startup hotbed Silicon Valley is too complacent, he added.
"When a region is out of touch with technology or business or social changes, you're at risk," Chambers said. "Boston's Route 128 used to be the high-tech center of the world," near MIT and Harvard and home to 2,000 or 3,000 high-tech companies. But the area missed the move to personal computers, software and the internet and lost its position of influence.
"Silicon Valley has the risk we could miss major market transitions," Chambers said.
Update, 1:55 p.m. PT:Adds more background on Chambers and Aspire.
Rebooting the Reef: CNET dives deep into how tech can help save Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.