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reThink Food conference focuses on Tensions and Technology, November 4–6 in the Napa Valley

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

reThinkFood 2016The third annual reThink Food conference—a joint initiative of The Culinary Institute of America and the MIT Media Lab—will be held November 4–6 at the CIA at Greystone in the Napa Valley. This year's program will explore the tensions between old and new, novel and familiar, tradition and innovation, and abundance and scarcity in food, technology, behavior, and design.

Additionally, the conference will delve into the intersection of food with some of technology's most exciting advancements around AI, robotics, virtual reality, big data, and genetics. The three-day event will feature more interactive sessions and food experiences than ever before while welcoming 300 food industry leaders, including academics and innovators in design, R&D, technology, consumer package goods, and marketing.

Sessions focus on the next chapters of innovation for both emerging and long-established companies. Presenters will delve into technology's role in food safety, teach you why "you are what you eat," and envision the kitchen of the future. The list of speakers includes experts in technology (Michiel Bakker of Google), innovation (Jim Flatt of Hampton Creek), personalization and sensory science (Lisa Mosconi of the NYU Medical School and Charles Spence of Oxford University), agriculture technology (Caleb Harper, MIT Media Lab), cultured protein (Andras Forgacs of Modern Meadow and Ryan Pandya of Muufri). Breakout sessions will provide opportunities for interaction, such as a truly blind wine tasting and a "Startup Studio," where big ideas can be brainstormed.

"By exploring key tensions that permeate the fields of food, innovation, technology, and design, we can identify novel, business-friendly solutions to re-architect our food systems," says Greg Drescher, the CIA's vice president of industry leadership. "From opportunities that lie between low-tech and high-tech to understanding how the tensions of fast versus slow affect our food values and experiences, reThink Food brings leaders together to solve some of today's and tomorrow's toughest challenges."

Caleb Harper, director of the Open Agriculture Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, explains, "Over the last few years there's been an explosion in interest in food, and there are so many types of conferences. But what's different at reThink food is that we bring together such diverse groups, and we try to look at those groups through different lenses: What do AI and robotics have to do with food? What are the latest advancements of genetics? How do technology, culture, and the enjoyment of food come together for an interesting future? That's what reThink Food is all about."

For a taste of reThink Food, a webcast of the 2015 conference general sessions is available for viewing. Other details, all program information, and a registration link for the 2016 conference are available on www.re-thinkfood.org.

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