TECHNOLOGY

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: AGRICULTURE

INTRODUCTION

Agriculture is a critical industry for mankind – as our population continues to grow, it is vital for us to develop an efficient industry that produces and distributes sufficient healthy food that no-one needs to go hungry. With serious concerns about the nutritional content of the topsoil needed for food production and their own economic survival, farmers have already been using advanced (or, in some parts of the world, simple) technology for several years to improve crop yields and field maintenance, using the umbrella term, Precision Farming. The main technologies in use are high precision positioning systems, automated steering systems, geomapping, sensors and remote sensing, integrated communication systems, and variable rate technology. In terms of the technologies we are tracking, this includes AI, autonomous vehicles, and drones. Get more details

As the availability of human labors on farms is becoming increasingly limited, the productivity provided by technology rarely involves actual job loss. The exception being crop picking, which traditionally has been provided by migrant workers.

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How self-driving tractors, AI, and precision agriculture will save us from the impending food crisis (AI/Disease Detection - 2018-12 - ZdNet)

John Deere’s test farm has helped increase overall farm productivity. In 1940 the average American farmer fed 19 people/year; today 155 people. For individual crops, corn amd soybean yields in the US grew by 61% and 29% (1980-2015). Detailed pdf downloads available.

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Software that optimizes seed selection, reduces fertilizer use, and detects early signs of disease is revolutionizing agriculture (AI/Disease Detection - 2018-09 - MIT Technology Review)

The Climate Corporation is gathering information from sensors on farming equipment and in the field, which is analyzed in the cloud. The company is building increasingly sophisticated models that help farmers understand which crop hybrids will produce greater yields under certain weather and soil conditions, or what fertilizer levels will be optimal in a particular setting – helping farmers produce 8 additional bushels of crops per acre.

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