AI has helped to transform many industries over the mast twenty years. For industries that traditionally rely on manual labor, such as the agricultural industry, AI powered technology can help to improve existing practices as well as create new opportunities in the industry. The AI Agricultural market, as of 2019, was valued at around $520 million, globally and is projected to grow significantly over the next five years. The agricultural industry recognized the value of this technology when it comes to farmland management, including pest control, labor automation, harvest optimization, etc.
Limitations of traditional farming
Climate change has had a great impact on the way in which people farm. Traditional farmers and farmland managers rely on weather patterns to help guide them through the harvest. For centuries, human beings were able to predict weather patterns with relative accuracy, as there was little fluctuation in weather patterns pre-Industrial Revolution. Though the industrial revolution had brought about significant innovation that has helped human beings to advance globally, it has also created drawbacks for many, particularly in the field of agriculture. Increased carbon emissions over the past couple of centuries has had a great effect on weather patterns, making them harder to predict. It has also exasperated the weather, leading to extreme dry-spells and more powerful storms, leading to the destruction of much of the land we utilize to grow our food and raise our animals. Increases in human population has also increased the need for fresh foods, and with a shrinking supply of land, farms need to become much more technologically innovative to provide the world with the food it needs while combating the major effects industrialization has had on our climate.
The smart farm
Artificial Intelligence has given way to the creation of the smart farm. More specifically, farmland managers have been able to leverage the vast amounts of data that AI can process in order to optimize the way they operate the farm. Farmland managers can utilize AI powered image tracking to figure out which soil is more fertile or whether there is a pest infestation. This information can be collected early on, allowing farmland managers to address it quickly and effectively, helping them to save their land and reduce overall costs.
AI powered robots can also be deployed on farmland to make up for labor shortages and increase productivity. Robots can be programed to do repetitive tasks, and when powered by AI, they can use the information they acquire to make quicker decisions. They are also less prone to error than human beings, reducing the risk of crop loss due to human error. When planning for planting and harvest, farmland managers can use predictive analytics to create the optimal conditions for growing and harvesting their produce.
As climate change reduces the Earth’s natural resources, it is important that we conserve our resources as much as possible. AI can help us to create the farm of the future, one that relies on intelligence and data for resource optimization. With smart technology, farmers can do more with less.
Maria is a writer at Enki Tech, a Downtown Santa Monica technology company that specializes in the development of high-quality, user friendly software, web platforms and mobile apps.