Some possible first-order effects:
- We’d be consuming food just for its calorific value, so that we have energy for all the biological processes for survival.
- The food industry would consist of a few companies that produce “fuel” (edible food with the highest energy density) for humans, just like there are a handful of companies that produce a specific kind of battery and a few companies that run power plants for electricity generation. The nutrition required for survival can be processed in a liquid or some solid that can be consumed orally and manufactured in a factory easily at scale. The image in my head is similar to that of Soylent, except its taste is irrelevant.
- As a result of (2), the world would spend a lot less land on food production. Currently, more than 1/3rd of land worldwide is used for livestock and crops. We continue to use all that land instead of figuring out more land-efficient techniques for growing food because we like the taste of meat. We’d have more land for housing and other things!
4. Greenhouse gas emissions would go down since meat production is responsible for about ~10-18% of all the greenhouse gas emissions .
5. No need for restaurants, grocery stores, etc.; people would just order and buy the same thing, like they buy the same batteries for their devices. This fuel that we manufacture would require no refrigeration, so we would not spend billions every year on refrigeration related logistics.
6. It’d be less of a hassle to shop and cook food every day, multiples times a day. You can just carry your recharging fuel anywhere in your backpack.
7. Maybe the world would be less fun without a sense of taste, which allows people to enjoy the experience of eating food while bonding with others.
Are there any benefits (e.g., evolutionary) to having a sense of taste? I suppose taste, in addition to sight and smell, helped with detecting potentially harmful food that could be spit out once a poor taste (indicative of its poison or staleness) is detected by the sense. Additionally, something sweet is rich in saccharides, which provides more energy — so a good idea to eat more of it.
Which second order effects would exist without a sense of taste?