French biochemists working for FarmAgro King Exports have developed a variety of root vegetables that can convey simple messages when hooked up to a cutting-edge network of computers and monitoring equipment.
Leslie Jaccobs, lead researcher on the project, said that the results aren’t exactly what the team of scientists expected.
“When we fused rhesus monkey DNA with that of tuberous vegetables, we were hoping for more of a ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ effect,” Jaccobs said. “What we got is still impressive, but we’re not finished yet.”
It is too early to determine whether individual vegetables have distinct personalities, although Jaccobs pointed out that some communicate more than others. “We have sweet potatoes that yammer on a lot,” she said.
Some of the simple phrases that have been recorded include, “More water,” “More light,” “No Miley,” and “Planning takeover.”
FarmAgro King Exports has already experimented with giving its more vocal vegetables access to the company’s Twitter account, although the tubers have not figured out how to use symbols like “#” or “@”.
A number of activists have criticized the project, saying that it raises a number of ethical questions.
“We don’t know if it’s moral to consume sentient vegetables or not,” prominent British philosopher Robin Holms said. “Scientists are always dreaming up these wild science projects without considering the implications. Is it still okay to be a vegetarian? We just can’t say yet.”