Using Artificial Intelligence Technology in Agriculture

Laura BednarUncategorizedLeave a Comment

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Farming has evolved from a simple approach of planting, growing, and harvesting food to a true business model that requires new technologies. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is usually a type of machine or computer system that can perform human tasks. These capabilities include speech recognition, visual perception, and decision-making. While some of these features are already being used in devices like mobile phones, their benefits can be translated into industries with a growing need for such technological advances.

Blueprint of Agriculture Industry

Agriculture encompasses more than just farming. The term involves raising livestock; cultivating the soil; health and food consumption; and the financing, marketing, and distribution of agricultural products, namely food. Overall it is the process in which plants, animals, and other life forms are cultivated for food and fuel. This industry requires much work and dedication in order to continue to thrive as a major industry in the United States.

There are several people involved in the agriculture process aside from just a farmer working to grow a successful crop.

  • Farmers—Cultivate the land, raise livestock, and monitor the conditions of the land. Other occupations aid in a farmer’s mission such as veterinarians who check on the animals and soil experts to measure the quality of the planting area.
  • Suppliers—those who provide the equipment and other tools for producing a healthy crop.
  • Purchasers—the sales people or organizations who pay the farmer for an agreed upon number of crops and transport and distribute the goods to consumers.

It is easy to see that the agriculture industry requires a group effort and relies on more than just human intelligence. The weather conditions, pests attempting to destroy food, and the use of chemicals are all important factors in the ability to produce successful results.

AI Systems in Use Today

With a variety of unpredictable factors, using technology with the ability to monitor crop condition could only help. The United Nations projects that the world population will increase by a third, or 2.3 billion people by the year 2050, requiring more food and therefore more farmers. The current use of machines and other knowledge engineering technology have made progress in making sure food production continues to rise.

These advances start fundamentally with the Harvest CROO Robotics, which picks the crops when they are fully ripe and packs them for shipping. The company claimed they could harvest as much as 8 acres of crops in one day.

Another key area of agriculture is the land on which the food is grown. There are current weed control technologies that precisely spray weeds to prevent a plant from becoming resistant to the herbicide. A startup called PEAT developed a way to identify potential nutrient deficiencies in the soil. The technology uses machine learning algorithms to create connections between the type of plant and diseases and other defects that may be present.

The use of drones and satellites are also developing as a way to monitor and take photos of crops and predict weather conditions. The drone photos can be extracted with a USB to keep the photos on the computer. In one case, Intel boasted that they powered AI that was used to protect corn from being attacked by grasshoppers. The machines used predicted that the swarm of insects was coming from one corner of the crop, allowing the farmer to keep them from attacking the entire area.

Technology Created for the Good of the People

These problem-solving technologies have no doubt helped to create a smoother agricultural process for farmers globally. Mark Gildersleeve, vice president, Head of Business Solutions Watson Media and Weather said, “Virtually every aspect of agriculture will be impacted by artificial intelligence over the next 10 years. It will become more automated.

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See the other posts in this series on AI in healthcare and AI in retail.