Artificial Intelligence an Analysis
Artificial Intelligence is exactly what it says; a machine or computer that is capable to learn and complete specific high-level tasks. and even though many years ago this idea was thought to be an idea of fiction, its now a reality. Artificial intelligence is being implemented into many things that are part of a normal persons life. Everyday more and more innovations are coming out and are going to be put in place of things or even people. Agriculture is no exception to the growing influx of artificial intelligence. Utilizing the growing field of artificial intelligence will greatly benefit the agriculture industry.
Artificial Intelligence will greatly increase the efficiency of the agriculture business. This is because once AI has been refined, it will be able to do many jobs that a farmer or farm-hand has to do, with ease. Typically on a farm several people would have to walk through a field to help identify plants that need fertilizer or pesticide. This is a very slow process and an extremely costly one. Another way that farmers use pesticides is utilizing planes to crop dust their whole field. This wastes a lot of herbicides due to a large amount of the herbicides not hitting the plant, simply absorbing into the soil (pest-efficiency). Sometimes an section of a crop may not even need a herbicide or pesticide but with general spraying, the plants will get the treatment anyways. This huge waste of pesticides and herbicides is also an enormous waste of money for farmers. Using such a large amount of herbicides allows for weeds and insects to form a resistance to the poison, allowing them to not be affected by it (pest-efficiency). A smaller more accurate and precise method of applying herbicides and pesticides would allow for farmers to save more money, weeds and bugs to be less resistant and for the environment to be healthier.
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How it works
Blue River Technology is producing a new robot with an algorithm that learns how to differentiate between weeds and plants (john-deere). The algorithm is using deep learning to identify what a weed and a specific crop look like. This is beneficial to farmers because they can implement several of these machines to replace their older unproductive techniques like crop dusting. These machines will be able to accurately and efficiently spot a weed that would harm a crop and subsequently apply a pesticide or herbicide. This process may not be as fast as crop dusting but it is unquestionably a more effective use of herbicides. And this is a good thing because as previously stated, since this will allow for less poisons to be used, plants and insects will not grow to be as resistant to the pesticides and herbicides since they will not be used nearly as much.
Several farms have already put some of AIs uses into work. There have been robots made that shake trees to make all the fruits fall off (fruit-production-efficiency). Even though this equipment isnt using say deep learning, and it needs an engineer to drive it, the machine still acts independently when shaking each tree differently based on the scenario. Simple machines like those greatly decrease the amount of time needed to harvest it also is cheaper to do. Although shaking trees may benefit some types of fruits like olives, that is not the case for all fruits and vegetables.
Apples and oranges for example require more delicacy when being picked in order for no bruising or damage to occur. New algorithms are being implemented that have learned how to softly retrieve an apple from an apple tree without damaging the apple or the stem (fruit-production-efficiency). Previously harvesting a tree for its fruits was an extremely lengthy process in which someone would typically have to utilize a ladder to obtain all the fruits from a tree, slowly moving from tree to tree. This technology proves to benefit many areas of inefficiencies in the harvesting techniques of agriculture.
A worry that some people have is that the new ground made in AI will put too many people out of work. While it is true that the area will require differently skilled workers, the jobs made will be of better quality with higher paying salaries (robots-are-displacing). There may be even more jobs than before artificial intelligence is fully implemented into the agriculture scene. A point to think about is how in the past when companies in the 1900s were introducing new machines which automated the assembly lines. Many people were initially put out of work. Even though many people were put out of a job there were actually more jobs generated because of the automation (robots-are-displacing). The new jobs included engineers who had to be on the floor monitoring the assembly line, and computer scientists to program and constantly update the new software that the machine was going to use to assemble items. At first glance yes, artificial intelligence will without a doubt put some people out of work, but if a deeper look is taken it may actually be a good thing for the working populous of agriculture.
Having higher quality jobs in agriculture or any field for that matter, will result in more people having a higher quality life.
Right now there is a deficit in farm hands because of how hard and grueling the work can be. Work days can be strenuous and long. Most people are lazy and dont like to do these types of extremely physically demanding jobs like farming. Even the owner of a farm doesnt get to laze around, they have to wake up before many workers even get there. For these reasons many of the workers tend to be low income minorities (revolutionize-farming-industry). People can take advantage of the already hurting workers or immigrants, paying them below the minimum wage making their lives even harder than they already are. Artificial Intelligence can accomplish what some of these workers are doing and can fill the empty space that farmers need in work force. With an increased need of educated employees farms will be required to pay better wages. Thus possibly giving these workers more options to possibly get an education or better paying job which will ultimately benefit everyone in the economy.
Young people are not filling the space that is left behind by the past generations farmers. This is because of how expensive starting a farm can be. By all means farming will still probably be an expensive profession to start out in, but artificial intelligence can reduce the costs of workers which is historically very costly. Artificial intelligence can also benefit people who are new to farming because the AI can learn information that would take a normal person years of experience or studying to learn. Imagine being able to run a restaurant with no cuisine skills or workers, purely maintaining a business through AI. The ability to do a task that takes a lot of skill, utilizing artificial intelligence will make AIs value priceless.
Another point to be made of artificial intelligence is its ease of access and real life insight it can give to real life situations farmers have to deal with. Using artificial intelligence, algorithms are evolving through machine learning to be able to identify a weed or a plant that may need fertilizer. Currently pesticides are sprayed over all of a crop to keep insects, diseases and weeds from spreading. This surplus use of pesticides is an enormous waste of money for farmers. Artificial intelligence can learn to induce when a plant has several bite marks that the plant needs a pesticide to counteract insects feeding on the plant. The previous example is a reactionary way to deal with insects, but farmers benefiting from AI could learn to be proactive as well. Instead of being able to detect after an insect has been there, a drone or surveying machine could identify an insects eggs, then pesticide the area to prevent the insects from reproducing.
Artificial Intelligence can also spot diseases on plants. This is important since some diseases may not even be able to be discernible by the human eye. A computer with an algorithm to learn what a plant looks like when it has a disease to help farmers take better care of the disease. The program could then tell the farmer how to take care of the detected disease and how damaging it can be to a crop. Diseases are very dangerous to farmers now that many types of plant seeds are exact DNA copies of one another.
This allows for disease to spread rapidly between individual plants since they have the same genetic makeup, and if one plant is susceptible to a disease, the whole crop is too. Having less diseases spread throughout a farmers crop is very beneficial to the farms and people who possibly rely on the farms. Agriculture is one of the most important businesses in the world because it supplements a basic human need that everyone needs.This means that farmers dont only operate for money or in business. Many poor countries perform sustenance farming. A significant benefit of this technology is the fact that it can be accessed and used on just a smartphone. Not everyone has a smartphone in poor countries, but access to technology is becoming easier everyday. To some families, whether or not they starve depends on the yield of a crop. This only further exemplifies the importance and impact of artificial intelligence in agriculture.
Artificial intelligence can also learn to predict when an event is going to happen. This is called predictive analysis. Predictive analytics give actionable insights to make decisions on data and information to improve agronomic opportunities, such as timing of applications, product decisions, amounts of products, and profitability of decision making, and are all being utilized today with developments coming constantly (predictive analytics-in-agriculture). This technology can give farmers more options when deciding what crop to grow. Maybe according to the predictive analytics corn will not sell as well as the previous year they grew corn, so they might switch to a more lucrative crop like blueberries for example. Predictive analysis for farmers can easily become one of the most invaluable options for them. Growing plants takes many months and requires a great amount of planning.
Any information whether in the marketplace or directly in the field will be priceless.
Artificial intelligence will not only affect the farming side of agriculture, it can also benefit the ranching side as well. Artificial intelligence can be used for dairy farming with cows utilizing facial recognition and transmitter collars. Farmers use these devices … to assess diet and movement and predict health issues of concern, such as lameness or udder infections (cow-fitbits). Cows like many animals do not show very much emotion. Although they do not show emotion every animal has body language that can be identified to be linked with other conditions. Often times food made by a happy animal or from a happy animal is of better quality. Making an animal more content is hard when they cant directly tell farmers what they want.
Facial recognition is allowing for farmers to monitor what their livestocks diets and habits contain. Cargill, the front running leader in facial recognitions use in agriculture said their goal was to make farmers have the … ability to make proactive and predictive decisions to improve their farms efficiency, enhance animal health and wellbeing, reduce animal loss, and ultimately increase farm profitability are significantly enhanced with this technology (cargill-brings-facial). This type of technology would greatly increase farmers efficiency with livestock because they will be able to understand the animals they are working with much better. Knowing an animals habits will allow farmers to be able to feed and water livestock when the farmers will know if they want to be watered or fed.
Monitoring systems will be able to track if for example a cow is pregnant and needs to be fed more to have a healthier baby and not risk giving birth to a weak and feeble baby or even possibly having a miscarriage. This is very beneficial to farmers that have livestock since they very often want to have their cows and pigs have children. Since their livestock having children just means they will have to buy one less cow or pig. They will also know that if for example a cow that historically produces a lot of milk will give birth to a heifer, they will want to take great care of the mother during her pregnancy.
Often times livestock can become injured and become unable to fulfill their job on a farm. If a facial recognition system was implemented, the system will be able to detect an animal that is in pain before they begin plainly showing it by limping. Proactiveness in livestock injuries can help the animal not become too hurt to walk or eat. Often animals are in pain a long time before they begin to show it externally. If a dairy cow was in pain for an extended amount of time the cow would become very stressed out, possibly not being able to produce milk or eat food. Cows and pigs being very intelligent creatures and both operating within social constructs can actually stress out and affect animals that arent hurt. These complications can be greatly reduced due to AIs facial recognition learning pattern and behavior monitoring of livestock.
Usually, on farms female cows are paired up with bulls to reproduce but in nature female cows would select their mate. Facial recognition may be able to discern what female and male counterparts would be a suitable match to create children. This automated selection process could greatly benefit gene breeding, making better livestock for agriculture. There are many components that go into gene selection for livestock. Fat content, production of goods like wool or milk, life longevity, and general health are a few attributes that go into the process of gene selection. AI will be able to select the best genes after using facial recognition to fully understand the health and state of individual animals.