Conceptualizing a Sustainable Food System in an Automated World: Toward a "Eudaimonian" Future
- The industrialized world has entered a new era of widespread automation, and although this may create long-term gains in economic productivity and wealth accumulation, many professions are expected to disappear during the ensuing shift, leading to potentially significant disruptions in labor markets and associated socioeconomic difficulties. Food production, like many other industrial sectors, has also undergone a century of mechanization, having moved toward increasingly large-scale monoculture production—especially in developed economies—with higher yields but detrimental environmental impacts on a global scale. Certain characteristics of the food sector and its products cast doubts on whether future automation will influence it in the same ways as in other sectors. In this paper we: (1) discuss the current state of the food system and the need to reform it in light of its environmental and social impacts; (2) present automation as a lever that could move society toward more sustainable food production; (3) highlight the beneficial attributes of a Eudaimonian model; and (4) discuss the potential challenges to its implementation. Our purpose is to highlight a possible outcome that future research will need to refine and expand based on evidence and successful case studies.
- External link to download this item: https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2018.00104
- Miscellaneous themes 
- Journal Article