Just before it was lunchtime on the West Coast on Tuesday, Rob Rhinehart went on Twitter to seek donations for something called Soylent. He describes it in the pitch video as “an efficient form of fuel for humanity for the first time in history.” By the time Silicon Valley’s office workers had gobbled down their sushi or sandwiches two hours later, supporters had pledged more than $100,000 to manufacture Soylent.
The substance is intended to provide all the nutrients and calories a human body needs—in other words, to replace food. Mix the powder with water and drink. Rhinehart says he’s been living mostly on Soylent since February. “It’s very sweet,” he told me. “It tastes almost like a succulent cake batter.”