On first glance, this is kind of cool simply in that one day soon, vegans and vegetarians will be able to eat meat with a clear conscience.
But wait, there's more!
This is probably going to transform the world as we know it. Cultivating farm animals is an exorbitantly expensive and wasteful process. This soon-to-be simple lab process will eliminate literally all of that. Hell, they will probably be growing the meat patties at restaurants themselves.
This will also vastly improve the quality (both nutritional and taste) of the meat. No doubt about it, the ability to do this is going to change the world in unimaginable ways, and within at most a decade or two.
I've been reading up on the singularity lately and this is only one of many other fast-coming changes of equal magnitude and life enhancing capabilities. If you're in doubt, don't be any longer--if you are below 50 right now, you are probably going to live forever or as long as you want. Even some people older than that still stand a chance.
Most people don't even bother to assume change at all - whatever technology we have today is what factors into whatever they think their future will be like. This is absurd, but true. They think, for example, that they may expect to live like we do today, to around 75 and have those last few years be marked by disease like cancer or heart problems.
Fewer people acknowledge there will be change, but impose a rate on it that is roughly equal to that of past change. Therefore, they see modest improvements being made in the future, but nothing that will drastically change the paradigm of life as we know it.
Those of us who know the truth, however, are so rare as to be considered crackpots... but I can see this is beginning to change ever so slightly. The truth, of course, is that the rate of change is accelerating faster than any of us imagine (the amount of change that occurred in the 1900s will occur in the first 20 years of the 2000s, for instance). Make no mistake - the 2020s will be bizarre, the 2030s will be the stuff of your wildest dreams, and the 2040s will be well beyond even that. Imagination itself will be the limit, and even imagination will be enhanced. Virtual reality and real reality won't be differentiated or discernible from one another. AI will be not only sentient, but hyper-intelligent, and so will we. We will literally be able to merge with each others' experiences, change everything about who we are, and still retain our core sense of ongoing identity.
What I'm saying, oddly enough, is nothing new, but I never hear people discuss it. It strikes me, however, as the most important thing we could possibly be talking about. The paradigm of the world is about to change! Kurzweil identifies 6 epochs in this procession: physics and chemistry, biology, neurology, technology, and #5, the merger of biology/neurology and technology (6 would be the complete awakening of the entire universe into sentience). That's right... this change will rank among the greatest of the history of the universe, and we will be ALIVE FOR IT.
For some reason, I anticipate unanticipated responses to this. Maybe people just aren't ready for it, but I'm guessing you'll react with disbelief, jadedness, or tinfoil-hat preparation. I myself can't see why anyone hearing about this for the first time wouldn't be incredibly excited. To me, this renders almost irrelevant whatever else is in the news these days. The only significant events I can see other than discoveries on the road to the singularity are possible wars or large scale terror attacks that would reduce my chances of survival to see this coming day.
But lab grown beef. Yeah.