When Sahil Singla joined the social impact startup Farmguide, he was shocked to discover that thousands of rural farmers in India commit suicide every year. When harvests go awry, desperate farmers are forced to borrow from microfinance loan sharks at crippling rates. Unable to pay back these predatory loans, victims kill themselves – often by grisly methods like swallowing pesticides – to escape the threats and violence of their ruthless debt collectors.
Agriculture has come a long way in the past century. We produce more food than ever before -- but our current model is unsustainable, and as the world's population rapidly approaches the 8 billion mark, modern food production methods will need a radical transformation if they're going to keep up. But luckily, there's a range of new technologies that might make it possible. In this series, we'll explore some of the innovative new solutions that farmers, scientists, and entrepreneurs are working on to make sure that nobody goes hungry in our increasingly crowded world.
Artificial intelligence experts at Carnegie Mellon University are teaming up with agricultural leaders and plant scientists to solve the emerging global food crisis. CMU researchers are developing and deploying a unique comprehensive system of sensing, robotics and A.I. technologies to improve plant breeding and crop management practices in an effort to feed the earth's projected 9.6 billion people, 20 years from now.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is rising in prominence with the proliferation of chatbots, virtual assistants and other conversational tools that companies are using to improve customer service, productivity and operational efficiency. But AI is also helping to automate and streamline tasks in data-intensive industries traditionally ruled by rigorous science and good old-fashioned human analysis.
Farming is, by far, the most mature industry mankind has created. Dating back to the dawn of civilization, farming has been refined, adjusted and adapted -- but never perfected. We, as a society, always worry over the future of farming. Today, we even apply terms usually reserved for the tech sector -- digital, IoT, AI and so on. So why are we worrying?